If American audiences could buy the films of Lina Wertmüller wholesale, it's hardly surprising that A Special Day, a more restrained but equally spurious piece of Italo-attitudinising on sex and politics, pulled two Oscar nominations. It looks 'serious': newsreels set the scene as the day of Hitler's visit to Rome in May 1938; the colour is bleached to an approximation of sepia; Loren eschews make-up. It sounds 'meaningful': Mastroianni mouths philosophy down the phone; the radio blares Fascist agit-prop. It boils down, however, to the worst kind of sentimental tosh, as Loren's dowdy housewife sets aside her dreams of the Duce for a day and embarks on a brief encounter with Mastroianni's hounded homosexual from across the courtyard. And its supposed 'achievement' is to present this unlikely coupling as a revolt against their mutual oppression, itself 'explained' by Fascism. QED: rubbish.