Yet burgeoning new talents have not been neglected especially the directorial debut of actor Kim Rossi Stuart with Across the Ridge which features alongside other first or second time directors in Nuovo Cinema (the new cinema section).
There will be tributes to the late great Roberto Rossellini in the year of the 100th anniversary of his birth – a loving portrait by daughter Isabella and a chance to see on the big screen his classic Journey to Italy with Ingrid Bergman.
Plus the organisers have included a salute to Marcello Mastroianni to mark the end of a decade since he departed – an affectionate documentary and a rare screening of the eternal La Dolce Vita.
To demonstrate its honed cutting edge the festival will honour one of contemporary Italian cinema’s rising talents Paolo (The Consequences of Love) Sorrentino by showing four features and shorts in his presence.
The programme would not be complete without a selection of documentaries and even more shorts as well as a selection of guests will ensure that this annual celebration of Italian cinema is as effervescent and entertaining as ever.
The dates are: London Riverside 17 to 26 November 2006 inclusive Glasgow Film Theatre 17 to 30 November 2006 inclusive; Edinburgh Filmhouse 24 to 3 December inclusive; London Renoir 24 to 3 December 2006 inclusive with Dundee DCA and Manchester Cornerhouse dates still to be confirmed.
Although other festivals in the UK include some Italian titles in their line-ups, the Italian Film Festival UK in association with Fiat and the Italian Institutes in London and Scotland, is the only exclusive showcase devoted to il cinema italiano. It has moved dates from April to November which the organisers consider is a peak time for movie-going.
This is how the full programme is shaping up:
Never Again Like Before / Mai Come Prima (12A)
A gripping coming-of-age story about four boys and two girls who’ve just graduated from school. This mountain-set drama, with a cast of unknowns, sports a wholesomeness and an uplifting message geared to family audiences. As evidenced in his warm feature debut Like Two Crocodiles, Giacomo Campiotti has absorbed a canny blend of American and Euroean filmmaking styles. Here the human drama is set amid picture-perfect Italian scenery and carefully built to white-knuckle tension. After an emotional pay-off, the story eases back to a thoughtful conclusion.
Casts: Marco Casu, Marco Velluti, Natalia Piatti, Nicola Cipolla, Laura Chiatti, Federico Battilocchio, Pino Quartullo, Lidia Broccolino, Francesco Salvi, Mariella Valentini, Fabio Sartor.
Dir: Giacomo Campiotti. 2005. 106mins
The Earth / La Terra (15)
A compulsively watchable combo of lopsided Italian comedy and Southern film noir, La Terra is the most energetic and appealing of director-actor Sergio Rubini’s eight movies to date. Fabrizio Bentivoglio heads a bold ensemble cast as an exiled son who returns to his native Puglia and finds himself thrust into the role of capo famiglia. Stunning location work and a story playing off familiar Italian stereotypes is guaranteed to provide pleasures aplenty.
Cast: Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Paolo Briguglia.
Dir: Sergio Rubini. 2006. 112mins.
The Life I Want / La vita che vorrei (15)
Laura (Sandra Ceccarelli) is a passionate, impetuous young woman, making her first uncertain steps in acting. At an audition for a period drama, she meets the famous actor Stefano (Luigi Lo Cascio) who, impressed by Laura’s beauty, sees she gets the part. The two are cast opposite each other as a pair of lovers having a secret, forbidden affair. Day after day, the couple recite words of love, and gradually Laura and Stefano begin an affair of their own. The make-believe of the film’s stolen embraces, soon becoming intertwined with the intoxicating reality of their own true, love story.
The Life I Want is a captivating and evocative new romantic drama from Giuseppe Piccioni (Light of my Eyes). Richly woven and handsomely crafted, this glorious film cuts straight and unapologetically to the heart.
Cast: Sandra Ceccarelli, Luigi LoCascio
Dir: Guiseppe Piccioni 2005. 125mins.
The Manual of Love / Manuale d’amore (15)
A box office smash on its home turf, The Manual of Love is a charming, bitter-sweet comedy about the mysterious nature of love. The fluctuating fortunes of relationships are chronicled through four intertwining episodes, each one played out by a different couple. The innocent, dreamlike stage of falling in love; the heart-wrenching phase of relationship crisis; the impulsive and frenetic epiphany of betrayal; and the lonesome, tragic freefall of being abandoned. The stories are both everyday and extraordinary, sweet and moving, romantic and funny. A refreshingly modern portrayal of love in all its incarnations.
Featuring Italy’s finest actors including Silvio Muccino (Remember Me, My Love), Sergio Rubini (The Earth), Margherita Buy (Caterina in the City), Jasmine Trinca (Best of Youth) and Luciana Littizzetto and Dino Abbrescia, (I’m Not Scared).
Cast: Carlo Verdone, Silvio Muccino, Luciana Littizzetto, Sergio Rubini, Margherita Buy, Jasmine Trinca
Director: Giovanni Veronesi. 2005. 116mins
The Wedding Director / Il regista de matrimoni (18)
Marriage is not necessarily forever, especially if you knock off the groom at the ceremony. That’s the kernel of this dark and convoluted descent into premarital distress. Centred on unsavoury film director Franco Elica, played by Sergio Castellitto. Depressed because his daughter has married a traditional Catholic and distressed by the down-sliding course of his hack career, Franco detaches himself to a small village, where he is commissioned by a pompous prince to film his princess daughter’s wedding. Not surprisingly, the predatory Franco becomes immediately infatuated with the princess (Donatella Finocchiaro) who is depressed about her upcoming marriage. A callous opportunist, Franco decides to sabotage the marriage, rationalising that he is saving her from an arranged union. Along the way, he stumbles upon a rival director who has staged his own death as a good career move, thus winning the big film award that eluded him all his life.
Cast: Sergio Castellitto, Donatella Finocchiaro, Sami Frey, Gianni Cavina, Maurizio Donadoni.
Dir: Marco Bellocchio. 2006. 100mins.
Sacred Heart / Cuore sacro (15)
From the acclaimed director of Ignorant Fairies and the award-winning Facing Windows (a smash hit at the 2004 Festival) Sacred Heart is a wonderfully warm drama, focussing on a steel-hearted woman who inexplicably finds her redemption. Irene (the luminous Barbara Bobulova) is an unscrupulous and successful businesswoman. In her hands, the family enterprises continue to expand and profit. But when two of her friends commit suicide following her buy-out of their company, Irene’s soaring self-confidence begins to crack, and she retreats to her family’s historic palazzo residence in central Rome. There she befriends a bright young street kid, Beni (Camille Dugay Comencini) – and finally discovers the secret to finding happiness. Winner – Best Actress & Best Cinematography in the 2005 David di Donatello awards, the Italian Oscars.
Cast: Barbara Bobulova, Andrea Di Stefano
Dir: Ferzan Ozpetek. 2005. 120 mins.
Don’t Tell / La bestia nel cuore (15)
Cristina Comencini relates the story of a woman whose reawakened memories from childhood cause her to seek out her brother in the US, where she uncovers a painful family secret. Sabina is beautiful, enjoys her job and loves her boyfriend, but is she truly happy? For some time now, strange nightmares have tormented her, and finding herself pregnant forces open a disquieting window onto her own inner life: her memories, her adolescence, her family, bourgeois rituals at once both strict and reassuring. But these are only the surface. From deeper down, something much darker and more disturbing is about to be revealed. In the official Competition at last year’s Venice International Film Festival and nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2006 Academy Awards
Cast: Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Luigi Lo Cascio, Alessio Boni, Stefania Rocca, Angela Finocchiaro
Dir: Cristina Comencini. 2005. 112mins.
The Caiman / Il Caimano (15)
Part impassioned political exposé, part marital drama, part cinematic comedy, The Caiman according to one reviewer is “a curious hybrid that, in most other hands, would feel forced. It’s the director’s intuitive command of tonal shifts – from slapstick to serious, from Allen-esque one-liners to barbed Moore-ish satire – that pulls the disparate strands together in the end.” The film starts off in high comic gear as failed film producer Bruno (Silvio Orlando), is presented through some of the trashy B-movies he made years before – like the adventures of an anti-Communist superwoman called Aidra, or the strongman romp Maciste Versus Freud. When Teresa (Jasmine Trinca, Best Of Youth), a first-time film director, hands Bruno a script called The Caiman, he decides to make it after skimming through the first few pages, seeing this political thriller as a way to keep the creditors at bay for a few more weeks.
Cast: Silvio Orlando, Margherita Buy, Jasmine Trinca, Daniele Rampello Giacomo Passarelli, Michele Placido, Elio Di Capitano, Nanni Moretti.
Dir: Nanni Moretti. 2006. 112 mins.
The Spectator / La Spettarice (18)
Rarely has voyeurism been shown to possess such melancholy beauty as is displayed here. Aided by Giuseppe Lanci’s atmospheric, nearly hypnotic photography and Barbara Bobulova’s delicate, somnambulistic performance, this story of a woman who slowly becomes obsessed by her neighbour – drawn closer and closer despite herself – exerts a magnetic fascination of its own. Valeria (Bobulova), who works as a simultaneous interpreter, shares her Turin apartment with a girlfriend. Through her rear window, she can see into the lit portals of the solitary man across the way (Andrea Renzi) and can watch him as he talks on the phone or plays with his dog. She seems content to live on the fringes of experience, wandering alone though the arcaded streets of the city, frequenting a disco for an occasional one-night stand. But when the man she has been watching, Massimo, enters her world directly (first in need of assistance for his sick dog and later in regard to a translation), her curiosity grows into outright compulsion. When Massimo suddenly moves to Rome, Valeria drops everything to follow.
Cast: Barbara Bobulova, Brigette Catillon, Andrea Renzi, Chiara Picchi.
Dir: Paolo Franchi. 2004. 102mins.
Mother Nature / Mater Natura (18)
A serio-comic look at a transsexual hooker and her florid circle of friends exerts a weird fascination. Novice director and screenwriter Massimo Andrei finds post-op call girl Desiderio (Maria Pia Calzone) is all set to give up streetwalking when she bags studmuffin Andrea (Valerio Foglia Manzillo). Problem is, he’s got a fiancee and can’t choose. Best friend Massimo (Vladimir Luxuria) is there to pick up the pieces, along with a group of queens setting up a Vesuvian retreat called Mater Natura (Latin for Mother Nature). Calzone has enough charisma to carry her scenes. Italy’s best-known drag performer, Luxuria appears – in a trousers role.
Cast: Maria Pia Calzone, Valerio Foglia Manzillo, Enzo Moscato, Vladimir Luxuria, Luca Ward, Fabio Brescia, Franco Javarone, Teresa Del Vecchio, Gino Curcione, Sara Carbone, Erma Castriota, Shanti Duclercq, Franco Ruggiero, Aldo De Martino, Tina Femiano.
Dir: Massimo Andrei. 2005. 92mins.
I Can See in your Eyes / Te Lo Neggo Negli Occhi (15)
Nanni Moretti’s sometime assistant Valia Santella makes her feature helming debut. Stefania Sandrelli plays a fading nightclub chanteuse whose daughter rejected her mother’s showbiz trappings years earlier, but thanks to a spunky granddaughter reconciliation is at hand. A gentle pan across Naples cuts to a hospital where Margherita (Sandrelli) wakes from an operation on her vocal cords. She’s already making plans for her next performance, but no one’s willing to tell her she may not sing again, including loving but long-suffering hubby Carlo (Luigi Maria Burruano). Family dynamics are slanted, since daughter Chiara (Teresa Saponangelo) never could stand her mother’s need for the spotlight. She lives in Rome, a divorcee working as a speech therapist and raising her young daughter Lucia (Camilla di Nicola. When an extramarital indiscretion fizzles away, Margherita looks to her daughter and granddaughter for company. Lucia thinks her glamorous grandma is the bee’s knees, and Margherita soaks in the uncomplicated love. The day of her gig Margherita scoops up her tiny acolyte and takes Lucia down to Naples without bothering to tell Chiara, who becomes frantic in her search for the errant duo. Director of photography Tommaso Borgstrom knows how to make both Naples and Rome look great.
Cast: Stefania Sandrelli, Teresa Saponangelo, Camilla di Nicola, Luigi Maria Burruano, Ernesto Mahieux, Mariano Rigillo, Catherine Spaak, Stefano Abbati, Silvia Cohen, Sergio Albelli, Betti Pedrazzi, Cloris Brosca, Tonino Taiuti, Riccardo Zinna.
Dir: Valia Santella. 2004. 81mins.
Waves / Onde (18)
Debut writer/director Francesco Fei uses a web of dreams and memories to give an impressionistic picture of the relationship between two people. Luka (Ignazio Oliva) is blind while Francesca (Anita Caprioli) has a mundane job and is traumatised by a large birthmark on her left cheek. Fei provides a subtly revealed character history, vivid dream sequences and a number of eerie Italian locales to deepen the story. Francesca’s character is particularly well drawn; rather than letting the fact of her blemish make her introspective and shy, it is instead depicted as a source of rage and the reason she lashes out, often irrationally, at her boyfriend. Luka is not without his own issues; he believes that Francesca is with him out of pity rather than love. Fei received his start in various TV series with MTV in Italy, but Waves is not a flashily edited gloss on the stale theme of triumph-over-adversity. It is a grounded and intimate depiction of a man and a woman trying to overcome individual obstacles in order to be truly together. Their successes and failures are consistently compelling, surprising and moving.
Cast: Anita Caprioli, Ignazio Oliva, Filippo Timi, Marina Remi
Dir: Francesco Fei. 2004. 90 mins.
Along the Ridge / Anche libero va bene (15)
Actor Kim Rossi Stuart has received an exceptionally strong response for his first film as a director, Anche Libero va Bene (Along the Ridge). He explores the world of Tommi, an 11-year-old who lives with his father, Renato, and sister Viola. His mother has abandoned the family, but the three have been able to work out a liveable arrangement, subject to Renato’s mood swings and very high expectations for his children. Then one day, without warning, Tommi’s mother, Stefania, returns home, threatening the fragile balance that defines his family life. Despite her efforts towards him, Tommi is distrustful of his mother and prevents her from getting close, yet meanwhile he also begins to see his father in a new light. Kim Rossi Stuart, who also plays Renato, displays tremendous confidence and an assured style as he guides his characters through this emotional minefield, as each dialogue exchange, each gesture seems to hold double meaning. In the crucial role of Stefania, Rossi Stuart cast Barbora Bobulova, recently awarded for her work with Ferzan Ozpetek (Sacred Heart) and one of Italy’s hottest new talents.
Cast: Kim Rossi Stuart, Barbora Bobulova, Alessandro Morace, Marta Nobili.
Dir: Kim Rossi Stuart. 2006. 108mins.
Piano 17 (18)
Mancini (Giampaolo Morelli) must place a bomb inside the offices of a big bank, in order to destroy some important and burdensome documents belonging to a dodgy customer. After disguising himself as a member of the cleaning staff, and priming the bomb with a timer, he gets trapped in the elevator with two unsuspecting clerks (Elisabetta Rocchetti and Giuseppe Soleri), who are returning home from work. Outside the building his two accomplices, Pittana and Borgia (Enrico Silvestrin and Antonino Iuorio), are keeping on eye on the situation, apparently waiting for the man to complete his mission.
With time working against him and the pressure reaching the boiling point, Mancini begins to realize that his two friends might not be looking out for him as they are supposed to…
Cast: Giampaolo Morelli, Enrico Silvestrin, Elisabetta Rocchetti, Antonio Iuorio, Giuseppe Soleri, Massimo Ghini.
Dir: Manetti Bros. 2005. 105mins.
Jimmy della Collina / Jimmy from the Hill (18)
Dismayed by the prospect of a lifetime spent toiling at the local oil refinery, the teenaged rebel in Enrico Pau’s cautionary tale Jimmy della Collina discovers that armed robbery only leads to a worse kind of imprisonment. Impressive performances, especially from Nicola Adamo, as the fiery Jimmy, and Valentina Carnelutti, as a woman who works with young offenders. His father’s acceptance of work amid the grim furnaces and stacks at the refinery condemns Jimmy to a gloomy future. While petty crimes offer distraction at first, he quickly aims higher. Director and co-writer Pau, working from a novel by Massimo Carlotto, quickly sketches the young man’s disenchantment, which is fed by tall tales of past crimes by blowhards in the local bars. Bored with his girlfriend Jimmy urges his buddies on from burglary to robbing banks but they chicken out and he is caught and incarcerated.
Cast: Nicola Adamo, Valentina Carnelutti. Francesco Origo, Massimiliano Medda, Giovanni Cantarella, Federico Carta, Mohammed El Gahilassi, Andrea Diomedi, Riccardo Sanvido, Eleonora Usala. Giovanni Carroni, Gisella Vacca, Caterina Silva.
Dir: Enrico Pau. 2006. 90 mins.
Under the Same Moon / Sotto la luna di scampia (18)
The everyday life of two young gypsies who live in Scampia, a suburb of Naples, set in a Cammoristic background, where an ex-boss on the road to repentance confronts a rising young boss and his group from the winning rival clan. The ways of life inside the gypsy camp and out, have a small common denominator: stories of people living on the outside, with the same inner desperation but vital strength typical of those who are forced to make ends meet, confronting the hard street life, by each day trampling on their own dignity, in order to survive. Moving on, however, is inevitable, in the search of a better life.
Cast: Franco Melone, Oliver Andelkovic, Samantha Andelkovic, Pavel Nenadosky, Nino Smajovic, Salvatore Ruocco, Giuliana Corona, Ketty Adams, Giulia Napoli, Gaetano Di Vaio, Francesco Di Leva.
Dir: Carlo Luglio. 2005. 92mins
To mark the tenth anniversary of Marcello Mastroianni’s death:
Marcello: A Sweet Life (15)
A chance to bask in Marcello Mastroianni’s charisma by spending 90-plus minutes with one of the screen’s greatest charmers. Directors Mario Canale and Annarosa Morri bring together a who’s who of collaborators but the biggest treat comes from Antonello Branca’s 1965 roving interview that helps reaffirm Mastroianni’s discreet seductiveness and gentility. Talking heads include daughters Barbara and Chiara discussing Marcello as father, and co-stars Claudia Cardinale and Anouk Aimee, the latter especially glowing. Directors such as Ettore Scola and Mario Monicelli recall his consummate professionalism as well as his maddening telephone addiction. Also included are archival interviews with Fellini, Visconti and Zurlini, exposing Mastroianni’s legendary laziness as a protective pose covering insecurities.
With: Barbara Mastroianni, Chiara Mastroianni, Armando Trovaioli, Ettore Scola, Philippe Noiret, Lina Wertmuller, Mario Monicelli, Alfredo Bini, Claudia Cardinale, Giuseppe Rotunno, Anouk Aimee, Luigi Magni, Marco Bellocchio, Liliana Cavani, Jean Sorel, Angela Anzimani, Suso Cecchi D’Amico, Vittorio Taviani.
Dir: Mario Canale, Annarosa Morri. 2006. 98mins.
La Dolce Vita / The Sweet Life (15)
A series of nights and mornings along the Via Veneto in Rome as seen through the eyes of its main character, a jaded society reporter named Marcello (played by Marcello Mastroianni). Marcello is a man who commits to nothing, as in his dealings with his simple, jealous lover (Yvonne Furneaux), a sophisticated woman (Anouk Aimée) with whom he has an episodic relationship, a beautiful bombshell (Anita Ekberg) whom he follows in her wanderings through Rome (including the notable scene of her night bath in the Fontana di Trevi), and a multitude of other characters that inhabit the thoroughfare. Marcello wants to quit his job as a gossip columnist and become a novelist, but he never seems to be able to concentrate long enough to make any progress on his serious writings.
Cast: Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg, Yvonne Furneau, Anouk Aimée.
Dir: Federico Fellini. 1960. 180mins.
CENTENARY TRIBUTE TO ROBERTO ROSSELLINI
The son of a wealthy Roman architect, Roberto Rossellini was as well known for his love affairs as his cinema. On the one hand, his neorealist films – in particular Rome Open City (1945) – caught the attention of many of the biggest producers, critics, and stars. However, the director’s affair with one such star, Ingrid Bergman, nearly ruined his career, causing audiences to shun subsequent near-masterpieces like The Flowers of St. Francis (1950). To celebrate what would have been his 100th birthday earlier this year (he was born 8 May 1906) the Italian Film Festival screens Journey to Italy, a key film in the Rossellini-Bergman relationship as well a humourous homage by Isabella Rossellini (his daughter with Bergman) and a touching documentary about the making of his masterpiece Rome: Open City.
Journey to Italy / Viaggio in Italia (PG)
A deceptively simple tale of a bored English couple travelling to Italy is transformed by Roberto Rossellini into a passionate story of cruelty and cynicism as their marriage disintegrates around them. Now more than 50 years old, Journey to Italy is recognised not simply as one of Rossellini’s greatest films, but as a key landmark in the development of modern cinema. The story unfolds during seven days spent by Alexander and Katherine Joyce (George Sanders and Ingrid Bergman) in and around Naples. As they wait to find a buyer for the house Alex has inherited from an uncle, their unusual surroundings bring out unexpected strains in their marriage. For the purposes of the story, Rossellini wanted his stars to be as confused and troubled during the production as their characters should be on screen. He took absolute control over the film-making process – the actors were not shown a script or allowed to prepare a performance.
Cast: Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders
Dir Roberto Rossellini 1953. 80mins.
My Dad Is 100 Years Old (15)
Written by and starring Isabella Rossellini, My Dad is 100 Years Old is at once whimsical and profoundly serious. It considers, among other things, Rossellini’s father Roberto’s troubled career and, in a very special, luminous moment, the relationship between her parents. It pairs wonderfully with Roberto Rossellini’s canonical Rome, Open City, the film that so clearly displays his impact on cinema.
Rossellini’s consideration of her father and his work in My Dad ends on a somewhat poignant note, as she wonders what will become of his considerable legacy. Ms Rossellini’s playful, elegant wish that her father be remembered is a first step in celebrating the œuvre of this giant.
Cast: Isabella Rossellini, Isaac Paz Sr.
Dir: Guy Maddin. 2005. 16mins.
Children of Rome, Open City / Figli di Roma Citta’ Aperta (15)
Offering a rare glimpse into the making of a masterpiece from 1945-Roberto Rossellini’s classic of Italian neo-realism, Rome Open City. This fascinating documentary emphasises Rossellini’s desire to do something useful in the wake of the Second World War and to find a reason for the Italian people’s sacrifices
Dir: Laura Muscardin. 2005 52mins
PAOLO SORRENTINO Spotlight
He’s only 36, yet Paolo Sorrentino already is being hailed as one of the high hopes of new Italian cinema. With The Consequences of Love and this year’s The Family Friend he has quashed all questions of whether Italian cinema has lost its visual flair. Sorrentino always has displayed classy, cinematic eye right from his first feature, the cleverly conceived One Man Up in 2001. He is part of what has become known as the Neapolitan school, as he and other directors including Mario Martone and Stefano Incerti are making the sensual seaside city a hotbed of Italian cinematic creativity. The Italian Film Festival UK is delighted to throw the spotlight on such an original and emerging key player.
The Dust Of Naples / Polvere Di Napoli (15)
In this anthology film with five episodes about modern-day Naples, director Antonio Capuano updates Vittorio De Sica’s The Gold of Naples (1954) and gave a first major screenwriting opportunity to Paolo Sorrentino. In Seven Part Scopa a young card-player gambles against local butchers; in Charlie and Jerry two sax players minus instruments entertain at a wedding by reviving old routines of Eduardo De Filippo and Toto; The Wedding tells the story of impoverished newlyweds; Fred follows Argentine tourists in Pompei; and in Richard Gere an aspiring actor has a vision of his hero. Originally shown at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival.
Cast: Gigio Morra, Antonio Iuorio, Gianni Ferreri, Alan De Luca, Teresa Saponangelo
Dir: Antonio Capuano. Scr: Paolo Sorrentino. 1998. 104mins
One Man Up / L’uomo In Piu Director (15)
Two men learn firsthand about the cruel twists of fame and fortune. In the early ’80s, Tony Pisapia (Toni Servillo) and his younger brother, Antonio (Andrea Renzi), have each risen to the peak of their chosen professions. Tony is a nightclub singer who after years of struggle has achieved nationwide fame, and Antonio is a soccer player who becomes a star after scoring the game-winning goal in the European championship match. However, a few years down the line both men are experiencing a sharp reversal of their good fortune. Tony has developed a devastating cocaine addiction, and after it’s revealed he’s become sexually involved with an underage girl, it doesn’t seem likely that the public will ever forgive him. Meanwhile, a leg injury has put an end to Antonio’s career as an athlete, and he finds himself starting from zero as he tries to launch a new career in coaching; he faces another personal crisis when his wife, frustrated by Antonio’s career decline, leaves him. L’Uomo in Piu was loosely based on the true stories of two Italian celebrities, musician Franco Califano and football star Agostino Di Bartolomei.
Cast: Toni Servillo, Andrea Renzi.
Dir: Paolo Sorrentino. 2001. 103mins
The Consequences of Love / Le Conseguenze dell’Amore (15)
In a Swiss hotel, an Italian businessman named Titta Di Girolamo sits silently, alone in the window of the café as he’s done every day for eight years. So what, exactly, is he doing? Consequences Of Love stars Toni Servillo as the mysterious 50-year-old resident. He sits apart, impeccable and impenetrable; he smokes and he waits. And so do we – but not for long as Signore Girolamo has secrets everywhere. The plot unfolds itself with such elegance that it would be a crime to give anything away. Even the genre remains a mystery for almost an hour – and then plays out with a brilliant flair for the unexpected. Along the way you are swept up in some dazzling filmmaking. The camera moves with precision, grace and constant invention, gliding between striking angles in the spotless, neutral hotel. Crisp editing and an involving, dynamic soundtrack steer the mood with equal panache. And Servillo is utterly remarkable as Di Girolamo; poker-faced, witty, gaspingly rude and preposterously cool. A uniformly splendid supporting cast surround him; even the most incidental characters just ooze credibility and depth.
Cast: Toni Bardem, Luis Tosar, Celso Bugallo, Nieve de Medina, Enrique Villón
Dir: Paolo Sorrentino. 2005. 104 minutes
The Family Friend / L’Amico di Famiglia (18)
The Family Friend deals with an odious moneylender whose services come with exorbitant interest and a repulsive pretence of intimacy. When the 70-year-old Geremia (Giacomo Rizzo) finds himself alone with a beautiful bride, Rosalba (Laura Chiatti), on her wedding day, she responds to his creepy lust in order to reduce the interest on her father’s loan of the money that’s paying for the wedding. Rizzo gives a remarkable performance as the repellent usurer. Even a bride entering marriage without conviction might recoil at such skin-crawling lechery, but Rosalba suggests immediately that for a reduction in the 100 per cent interest the old man is charging her father, something could be worked out. As the man’s drooling increases, she gets him down to 10 per cent although at a moment of heightened excitement he insists on twelve-and-a-half. Two plot developments then ensue with Geremia, whose loans have always been moderate, tempted by a “sure thing” chance of doubling his money if he loans a businessman €1 million. To his surprise and joy, Rosalba reveals that not only is she in love with him but she is carrying his child. For the first time in his life, Geremia is smitten, and his judgment goes out the window.
Cast: Giacomo Rizzo. Frabrizio Bentivoglio, Laura Chiatti, Gigi Angelillo, Clara Bindi, Barbara Valmorin, Marco Giallini, Alina Nedelea, Roberta Fierontini, Elias Schilton, and Lorenzo Gioielli.
Dir: Paolo Sorrentino. 2006. 110 mins.