In the industrial North, Giovanni is a skilled factory worker offered a promotion if he'll go to Sicily for 18 months to assist in a new department. His impending absence strains his already nearly wordless relationship with Liliana, his fiancée. They meet regularly at a dance hall and sometimes go riding on his motorcycle. We watch him arrive in Sicily, walk the town, live in a hotel, find lodgings, work, and participate in local events. It's a solitary, melancholy life. In his mind's eye he thinks about Liliana. He hasn't been entirely faithful. There's pain and detachment in her eyes. Across this distance, can anything bring about a breakthrough? Do they have a future?
The Lady (or Signora) of the title is a mysterious matron who lives in a crumbling mansion. Six catering trainees are brought to the castle upon its conversion into a resort hotel. They are ordered to prepare a special meal for the old lady, whom none of them ever seen for more than an instant. As the caterers grow in wisdom and sophistication, we learn that the lady may very well be an urbane ghost rather than a flesh-and-blood entity. Lunga Vita alla Signora! is a rewarding experience for those willing to give the film their full undivided attention.
Directed by veteran helmer Ermanno Olmi, this Chinese folktale revolves around a young man (Davide Dragonetti) who mistakenly enters a brothel while trying to find his way through urban China circa the 1930s. Narrated by Bud Spencer, the young man succumbs to temptation, and the dialogue-free scene is performed through dance. Meanwhile, pirate junks begin firing at one another from a shoreside village. The leader, Admiral Ching (Makoto Kobayashi), is backed by a powerful group of profiteers, thus prompting the emperor to offer him a high ranking position if he stops firing. Unwilling to lose their income, Ching's backers murder the pirate, which sets off a strange sequence of events that will resound throughout the community for years to come.