A young writer is invited to stay in a religious hostel run by a sinister, manipulative nun who plays deadly psychological games with the inhabitants.
Celestino has communication problems because of his incomprehensible native dialect. When he falls madly in love with a deaf girl called Rosetta, he learns sign language and pretends to be deaf as well in order to court her.
In a working-class neighborhood of post-WWII Turin, Italy, 10-year-old Anna lives with her mother, Lidia, a secretary in a factory typing pool. As a partisan during the war, Anna’s father died a hero. Anna’s Catholic teacher awards a medal to the best pupil.
Ever-bumbling Nino is an illegal Italian immigrant working in a Swiss hotel. Waiting on the wealthy, he feels as if he’s carved out his own place in paradise. When he loses his job after being arrested for urinating in public, Nino is desperate to stay in the country. He goes into hiding, ends up living in a chicken shack and eventually decides to dye his hair blonde and pass himself off as a German. However, Nino grows to have doubts about hiding his heritage and identity.
A bankrupt tenor wants to bolster his finances by reuniting with the two former singing partners who sued him 10 years earlier.
Liana Franci, a wealthy young graduate in architecture, dreams of a more independent life so she cancels her wedding engagement with Fernando, an engineer, after meeting the musician Gerardo Villabruna and flees with him to Amalfi. After a while Gerardo confesses to her that, in spite of the good times together, he’s too engaged with music and has to leave for a long tour. Therefore Liana moves to Paris, where she finds an unrewarding job but also meets Massimo, a wealthy shipowner that decides to marry her. Problem is this marriage leaves her feeling caged…
When his father dies, young lad travels to Milan to attend the funeral and decides to follow in his father’s footsteps as a gigolo. He is successful at finding rich women to prey on, but finds himself caught up in a bidding war.
Two friends live by their wits working as comedians and cabaret at Cinecittà, before being invited to friends’ parties or masked balls during New Year’s Eve in Rome. The two, however, even though they make people laugh all the time in public, live an inner conflict, namely that the two have always to be aware to give a smile to someone, but they can never be rich and happy because they are street artists and with a precarious wage.