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Western Animation / Allegro non Troppo

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Allegro Non Troppo (Not Too Cheerful) note  is a 1976 Italian animated film functioning as a parody of Disney's Fantasia. Like Fantasia, Allegro Non Troppo melds classical music with animation, but unlike Fantasia, Allegro Non Troppo takes its cues from Monty Python-esque Deranged Animation, with sequences ranging from utterly bizarre to depressing beyond belief.

Pieces played in the film are:

  • Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune by Claude Debussy—A parody of the Pastoral Symphony sequence from Fantasia, where an elderly faun tries to get a nymph for himself, but fails every time.
  • Slavonic Dance No. 7 Op. 46 by Antonín Dvořák—A caveman sets out to build better dwellings than the other cavemen, who repeatedly mimic every act he does.
  • Boléro by Maurice Ravel—Possibly the film's most famous sequence, where a soda bottle left on a wasteland creates an evolution of bizarre creatures in a parody of Fantasia's segment for The Rite of Spring. It was frequently used as filler on HBO in the 1980s (so the next movie would start at the top of the hour).
  • Valse Triste by Jean Sibelius—The film's saddest piece, in which a small cat is left in a destroyed house, remembering the good times spent there only to have reality come crashing upon it.
  • Concerto in C major for 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, Strings and Continuo RV 559 I. Larghetto - (Allegro) by Antonio Vivaldi—A bee tries to enjoy a meal on a flower only to have a rowdy couple thwart her attempts.
  • The Firebird by Igor Stravinsky—God makes Adam and Eve and the serpent tries to get them to eat the apple of knowledge. When they refuse, the serpent eats it himself and is thrown into a hellish environment of Western materialism and commercialism.
  • An epilogue starring an Igor-like creature trying to find suitable ending for the film that features the last few measures of a whirlwind of pieces, including Antonio Vivaldi's Flute Concerto Op.10 No.1 (La tempesta di mare), Ludwig van Beethoven's Pathetique and Moonlight sonatas, Franz Schubert's String Quintet in C major, Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 (orchestral version) and Johannes Brahms' Hungarian Dance No.5 (orchestral version) among others.

Interspersed with the animation are black and white live-action segments narrated by the film's presenter (Maurizio Micheli) and featuring an escalating battle of wills between the orchestra conductor (Néstor Garay) and the animator (Maurizio Nichetti).note 

This film provides examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody: Despite needling Disney, this movie does a great job of capturing Fantasia's flavor.
  • Alternate Continuity: Ever wonder what would happen if Adam and Eve didn't eat that apple?
  • Art Initiates Life: Some of the Artist's characters come to life and attack the Director and the Conductor.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Averted. Since it's a European film, it's not shy about depicting anatomically correct nude women in Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, while both Adam and Eve have visible genitals in the Firebird sequence.
  • Bee Afraid: After having her meal constantly thwarted by an annoying human couple, the little bee has enough and stings the man.
  • Beehive Hairdo: The bee from Vivaldi's section, appropriately enough.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: The ape in Bolero.
  • Big Damn Hero Moment: Though it's more True Neutral as it is done during the march of evolution, a sauropod creature saves an aquatic life form from being eaten by a squid life form.
  • Body Horror: Some of the evolutions of the weird creatures in Boléro qualify, as well as the ending where many of the creatures become construction machines.
    • God's early attempts at humans in Firebird — a hand attached to a foot and a butt with arms and legs — are grotesque to anybody who doesn't find them hilarious. Their failed attempts at moving around are perhaps the most disturbing part.
  • Breather Episode: You'll be glad for the lighthearted piece with the bee after Valse Triste.
  • The Cameo: Director Bruno Bozzetto's character Signor Rossi appears briefly as one of the cartoonist's characters, whom he enlists to fetch some food for him. He doesn't last long, as the conductor puts his cigar near the paper Rossi is on and is set on fire.
  • Cut-and-Paste Suburb: The old house in Valse Triste is surrounded by look-alike pre-fab houses.
  • Dead All Along: The cat at the end of "Valse Triste".
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The live-action sequences.
  • Deranged Animation:
    • Bolero features an increasingly bizarre collection of animals evolving from the dregs of a bottle of Coca-Cola left behind by an astronaut.
    • The Firebird sequence sends the snake from the Garden of Eden into a nightmarish world of western capitalism and commercialism.
  • Dirty Old Man: The satyr of Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, he's way past his prime years.
  • The Dog Bites Back: After taking the director's abuse throughout the movie, the artist gets back at him in a spectacularly Slapstick fashion after the Vivaldi segment.
  • Downer Ending:
    • The old satyr in Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune ends up alone and miserable.
    • Every animal except the ape in Boléro gets crushed by the wheels of evolution, either getting destroyed by the skyscrapers or turned into equipment to build them in the final shot.
    • The cat in Valse Triste is revealed to be a ghost, the same as the people in the now ruined apartment building. In the final shot, a wrecking ball takes aim at the building's last remaining wall.
  • Earth All Along: The planet in which Boléro is set turns out to be Earth, as attested by the Egyptian Pyramids and the Christian Cross near the end.
  • Empathy Doll Shot: At the beginning of Valse Triste.
  • False Teeth Tomfoolery: In Afternoon of a Faun, the elderly faun is trying to seduce a young nymph. When she offers him an apple, he takes a bite and hands it back to her, with his dentures still stuck in it. She runs off in disgust.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Boléro features a lot.
  • Fan Disservice: The sex ads in the Firebird sequence.
  • Fauns and Satyrs: Aptly, given its title, Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune is used as the backdrop for a parody of the "Pastoral Symphony" segment of Fantasia, an Arcadian fantasy of young fauns and nymphs in love... and one elderly satyr who can't get the objects of his desire to look his way anymore.
  • Forced Transformation: Some of the creatures in Bolero are transformed into construction equipment at the end, and do not seem pleased with it at all.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The evil ape in Boléro starts off as a confused inhabitant of the forest, who later leaves with the rest of the animals. Bitter about it, the ape starts off as a Jerkass whose purpose is to frighten the other animals during the march. However as it discovers the use of tools, it becomes more vile as it begins murdering other animals in order to take their place in the line of evolution and begins to burn animals to death with sickening delight after discovering fire and by the finale (through leaping ahead of the line by a long shot) all the animals have either perished in the emerging buildings or turned into construction machines in the construction of its new civilization, while a towering giant admires his work. The giant's face cracks to reveal the ape, grinning maliciously.
  • Gainax Ending: The finale. The animator and the cleaning woman turn into a cartoon knight and princess and fly off, leaving the Director scrambling to find an ending for the film. He calls Franceschini, an Igor-like servant, on the phone and asks him to find a suitable ending, leading to a strange parade of final scenes set to the final measures of various classical pieces. Eventually the Conductor, who was knocked through the floor after the Vivaldi piece, re-appears covered in bandages, and as he and the Director wonder how to finish the film, the view pulls back to reveal Franceschini watching them on a miniature stage... which he smashes to reveal the snake from the Firebird sequence, which bites him on the nose. Cue the words "HAPPY END" falling on them, followed by the end credits!
  • Giant Woman: In Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, one of the nymphs the Faun chases makes herself bigger to defend herself. In the end of the segment, the hill the Faun is standing on turns out to be a giant woman
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: The ape at the end of Boléro. Interestingly this comes in two variations: red irises through most of the short and glowing purple pupils at the very end.
  • Happy Ending: Parodied. Even though the words "HAPPY END" appear as the movie finishes, the actual conclusion of the movie feels more like a Gainax Ending.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Central theme in Bolero and Concerto in C major. Slavonic Dance and Firebird also depict humanity/civilization as a bad thing.
  • It's Been Done: The director gushes about the originality of his concept. Then he gets a phone call...
  • Letting the Air out of the Band: At the end of the scene with the monkey (after Bolero), the Director stops the "party" and we get this effect.
  • Maniac Monkeys: In the second half of Boléro, a demonic ape species slowly grows in dominance and eventually kills off the rest of the species.
  • Meaningful Name: The film itself. Allegro, ma non troppo is a musical direction meaning "Fast, but not too fast." Allegro non troppo, though sometimes used as a synonym of Allegro, ma non troppo, means something closer to "Not so fast!"
  • Mooning: At the end of the Slavonic Dance, all the others do this to the main character for trying to trick them into marching off a cliff.
  • Panspermia: Spoofed on Boléro. Apparently, the primordial soup was actually Coke.
  • Parody of Evolution: The entirety of the Boléro section, although many of the animals look like fantasy creatures rather than anything that actually lived in prehistoric times. You could chalk this up as the sequence taking place on another planet if the ending didn't reveal this was on Earth All Along. Or just invoke Rule of Funny.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The main concept of the film.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: The cartoon characters occasionally wander into the live-action. When the snake from the Firebird sequence slithers into the concert hall, the terrified orchestra members scatter, leaving the Director, the Artist, and the cleaning woman alone in the theatre.
  • Running Gag: The pencil sharpener and other objects sliding down the artist's drawing board.
  • Scare Chord: In Firebird, after the snake bites into the apple.
  • Shout-Out: The Vivaldi sequence opens with a visual allusion to Vivaldi's most famous work, "The Four Seasons".
  • The Show Must Go On: Despite the growing disorder, the Director constantly tries to keep the movie going. He even utters the name of the trope before the Firebird segment when the Conductor is dropped under the stage and they have to play the music through a gramophone.
  • Sinister Geometry: The setting of the Valse Triste segment takes place is a dystopian landscape dominated by identical white skyscraper-like monoliths, with the ruined house being the only structure that stands out and in the end, for added Tear Jerker, we hear the sounds of the house getting demolished to make way for the expansion of this cold, conformist metropolis.
  • Slapstick: When the artist finally gets back at the director, it plays like something out of a Looney Tunes cartoon. At the climax the director falls through the floor and leaves a man-shaped hole in it; he only crawls out at the end of the movie, fully enveloped in bandages.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Much more cynical than the movie it is a parody of. The English translation of this film is "Not Too Cheerful".
  • Starving Artist: The artist is literally freed from a dungeon at the beginning of a movie and does not get to eat during the lunch break. He attempts, unsuccessfully, to steal some of the director's chicken.
  • Take That!
    • The conductor couldn't care less that they're ripping off some guy called "Grisney".
    • In-universe example: After seeing the conductor abuse the animator for three full segments, is it any wonder that the villain at the end of Boléro is drawn to look like him?
    • Italy in The '70s wasn't a big fan of American capitalism, and it shows. Particularly noticeable on the Boléro and Firebird segments.
  • Tear Jerker: In-universe, the old ladies in the orchestra are left sobbing by the fate of the cat in the Valse triste segment.
  • That Russian Squat Dance: The animator and the ape do this dance on the floor at one point.
  • True Art Is Angsty: The main cause of conflict between the artist and the director. The animated sequences are poignant, full of commentary on society and human nature, and generally dark-colored; the director keeps berating the artist for "not being funny".
  • The Voiceless: The animator and the cleaning woman.
  • World's Smallest Violin: After being rejected again, the old Faun starts crying and a couple of woodland animals try to comfort him, one by playing a violin... then they fall in love and hook up with each other, leaving him alone.


Video Example(s):


Allegro Non Troppo

In this version of the Adam and Eve story, the snake consumes the forbidden fruit.

How well does it match the trope?

4.87 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / DerangedAnimation

Media sources: