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Long-time friends: Davide, a successful novelist, lives with Lorenzo, who's everyone's favorite; Antonio and Angelique, married with two children; Neval, a voluble Turk, and her compliant husband; Sergio, an aging gay man; and, Roberta, beautiful, heavily into drugs. They have secrets: an affair, a business venture. Then, tragedy strikes, and the group pulls together for one of their own, who may not want their intersession. Are there limits to the power of friendship? Written by
I saw the premiere of this film in Florence the other night, with Ozpetek and a lot of the cast (including Accorsi and Buy) in attendance. It will soon have its release throughout Italy but I highly doubt (despite its esteemed cast) that it will make it abroad--for good reason. Having liked "Le fati ignoranti" and been less impressed with "La finestra di fronte," I came to this hopeful but with some reservations. The basic theme (though not the plot, which is too uninteresting to go into) is the same as in those other movies--that family is something one forms among friends and lovers rather than the traditional tight/strangling norms that define Italian family bonds. When Ozpetek really brought this out in "Le fati ignoranti", he seemed like a fresh voice in Italian cinema: unjudgmental, sane, equally interested in straight and gay relationships, kind with actors. Things haven't really changed in the intervening years, but his approach now seems a limitation, or rather, there's nothing to get excited about or involved with in this new film. The stakes seem low, the actors seem unplugged, the melodrama feels forced, and with no especially compelling central character (like Accorsi's in "Fati ignoranti"), there's no real involvement for the audience. Tears are shed, lessons are learned, compassion is shown. This could be a TV movie. It's only the sad state of Italian cinema in general that makes something like this pass for a serious drama. It's not really a bad film or a terrible failure, just something slightly better than mediocre. Is that good enough for one of Italy's leading directors?
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