Love and Affection

She’s a terrific flirt; always made up, poured into a dress, beaming and winking...until one moment. Floating out at sea under the moonlight, she sinks into reflection. “I want one of those encounters that last a lifetime. I want a family, children, a husband to chat with in the evening over coffee maybe and to make love with now and then because when you must, you must. But affection is more important than love and I am so full of affection. But who can I give it to? Who will take it?”

Gradisca is a character in Fellini’s Amarcord. She gets her wish, sort of. The wedding party takes place in a barren field in the seaside village of Rimini. The husband is a bloated officer whose only line is “Long live Italy.” He yanks her into a taxi like a piece of luggage. In a brief write-up for The New Yorker, critic Anthony Lane recommends the film as a chance to consider “whether affection can blur as well as compel.”