United World Project


“Cento domeniche” (A Hundred Sundays) – A story of work, money, and ethics… the latest film by Antonio Albanese

28 November 2023   |   Italy, Film,

“Cento domeniche”, released in Italian cinema on 23rd November, is a sad and moving portrayal of the duty of responsibility towards ordinary citizens held by those with power.  It tells the story of a humble, honest worker, who places his trust in his bank and loses everything, reminding us once again of the fundamental need for ethical structures that respect and protect the work and earnings of every member of the community.

One hundred Sundays is what it cost a simple honest man to save enough to build a house, giving up his Sundays in order to work instead of enjoying a day of rest, in the hope of providing security for his loved ones.  Now he is confined to a hospital bed, struck down by an illness.  Not because he has worked too hard but because the regional bank, in which many other humble workers like him had placed their modest, hard-earned savings, has deliberately betrayed them, breaking its bond to the whole community, shattering, with criminal self-interest, the relationship of trust between those in authority and the citizens they serve.

This poor man receives a visit from the main character in the film: Antonio, played by Antonio Albanese, who is also the director of this painfully clear production, more European and universal in its style than Italian.  This is Antonio’s homeground; the place he has always known, and he goes to see this poor patient in order to find out if the rumours are true, that the bank in which he too has placed his life’s savings as a shipyard worker, is about to collapse.

Antonio loves to keep things in order: punctual and good-natured, he applies the same care to a table, a garden, or days spent with his elderly mother, in the same way as he has always carried out his manual work: with precision, dedication and efficiency.  When he plays bowls with his friends, he knows how to carefully place his shots and win points.  But he prefers not to go to a higher level, as that would be going outside his comfort zone.  Knowing how to make the most of all that is familiar is enough reward for him.

He leads a simple life, without complaining; he has just one dream – which might not seem very big, but it means everything to him; and that is, that one day, when his only daughter is ready to marry, he will give her a beautiful wedding, one which as father and daughter they have always dreamed together, ever since she was a little girl.

When the time came for her wedding, this happy father went to the bank to draw out a sum of money; only to find that the institution in which he had trusted, had cheated him. That stronghold which had previously supported the growth of the whole area, had renegaded on the fruitful alliance between great and small and converted Antonio’s savings, and those of many other good people, into shares, getting them to sign documents which they believed meant something else.  They were misled, and by giving their signatures, they became the victims of fraud, unwittingly allowing their bank accounts to be emptied.

Antonio breaks down; he needs psychological help, blaming himself for what has happened.  He stumbles into a dark hole from which he is unable to get out. There is not a strong enough community to pull him out, or to defend against such underhand and brutal attacks. Honest, and upright citizens, like Antonio, even though united, are powerless to overturn the facts.  Those who knew people in high positions, were warned to withdraw their money before the collapse happened.  But not the vulnerable.

“Cento domeniche” (A Hundred Sundays) tells the story of simple citizens, the drama of ordinary people who for the most part live contentedly alongside each other in familiar, often secular, surroundings. A small world based on happy, healthy relationships is devoured by those who secretly prey on them. The film escalates towards impending tragedy, as it challenges the huge responsibility entrusted to institutions on which communities depend and the damage they cause when they neglect their duty.

A community is a large body of people, made up of many lives, each equally important, represented in the film by the person of Antonio, victim of cunning times which sets traps everywhere for people like him, who are inclined to trust another’s word or handshake.

We feel angry and sad as we think of the importance of trustworthy relationships between institutions and individuals, palaces and ordinary citizens, the strong and the weak in order to build the future.

“Cento domeniche” presented at the Rome Film Festival (under the Grand Public section) and screened in Italy from 23rd November, shows us the consequences upon the life of an ordinary person, symbolic of many, when poison sets in, and he is hacked by the use of highly sophisticated tools, open to corruption, belonging to our fragile times.  The message is brought home once again – that that any form of power must only exist for the sake of the common good, for the benefit, not only of the vulnerable, but for everyone, for the community as a whole.