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Péter Breznyik Berg
Titta di Girolamo apparently has a regular and tedious life with nothing strange a part from his own name (as he uses to say). He lives in a Hotel in Lugano (Switzerland) since almost ten years, spending his days waiting for something we don't know. His life is too rigid, too detached following a flat routine. Titta ignore everyone and probably he has no emotions at all. Basically there is no story. But one day he decided, breaking all his personal rules, to exchange some words with Sofia, the hotel's barmaid. Incredibly all the situation change, emotions, love, mafia, death come back violently into Titta's life. Written by
One of the most significant quotes from the entire film is pronounced halfway through by the protagonist, the mafia middle-man Titta Di Girolamo, a physically non-descript, middle-aged man originally from Salerno in Southern Italy. When we're introduced to him at the start of the film, he's been living a non-life in an elegant but sterile hotel in the Italian-speaking Canton of Switzerland for the last ten years, conducting a business we are only gradually introduced to. While this pivotal yet apparently unremarkable scene takes place employees of the the Swiss bank who normally count Di Girolamo's cash tell him that 10,000 dollars are missing from his usual suitcase full of tightly stacked banknotes. At the news, he quietly but icily threatens his coaxing bank manager of wanting to close down his account. Meanwhile he tells us, the spectators, that when you bluff, you have to bluff right through to the end without fear of being caught out or appearing ridiculous. He says: you can't bluff for a while and then halfway through, tell the truth. Having eventually done this - bluffed only halfway through and told the truth, and having accepted the consequences of life and ultimately, love - is exactly the reason behind the beginning of Titta Di Girolamo's troubles.
This initially unsympathetic character, a scowling, taciturn, curt man on the verge of 50, a man who won't even reply in kind to chambermaids and waitresses who say hello and goodbye, becomes at one point someone the spectator cares deeply about. At one point in his non-life, Titta decides to feel concern about appearing "ridiculous". The first half of the film may be described as "slow" by some. It does indeed reveal Di Girolamo's days and nights in that hotel at an oddly disjoined, deliberate pace, revealing seemingly mundane and irrelevant details. However, scenes that may have seemed unnecessary reveal just how essential they are as this masterfully constructed and innovative film unfolds before your eyes. The existence of Titta Di Girolamo - the man with no imagination, identity or life, the unsympathetic character you unexpectedly end up loving and feeling for when you least thought you would - is also conveyed with elegantly edited sequences and very interesting use of music (one theme by the Scottish band Boards of Canada especially stood out).
Never was the contrast between the way Hollywood and Italy treat mobsters more at odds than since the release of films such as Le Conseguenze dell'Amore or L'Imbalsamatore. Another interesting element was the way in which the film made use of the protagonist's insomnia. Not unlike The Machinist (and in a far more explicit way, the Al Pacino film Insomnia), Le Conseguenze dell'Amore uses this condition to symbolise a deeper emotional malaise that's been rammed so deep into the obscurity of the unconscious, it's almost impossible to pin-point its cause (if indeed there is one).
The young and sympathetic hotel waitress Sofia (played by Olivia Magnani, grand-daughter of the legendary Anna) and the memory of Titta's best friend, a man whom he hasn't seen in 20 years, unexpectedly provide a tiny window onto life that Titta eventually (though tentatively at first) accepts to look through again. Though it's never explicitly spelt out, the spectator KNOWS that to a man like Titta, accepting The Consequences of Love will have unimaginable consequences. A film without a single scene of sex or violence, a film that unfolds in its own time and concedes nothing to the spectator's expectations, Le Conseguenze dell'Amore is a fine representative of that small, quiet, discreet Renaissance that has been taking place in Italian cinema since the decline of Cinecittà during the second half of the 70s. The world is waiting for Italy to produce more Il Postino-like fare, more La Vita è Bella-style films... neglecting to explore fine creations like Le Conseguenze dell'Amore, L'Imbalsamatore and others. Your loss, world.
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