7.5/10
56
2 user 2 critic

Dreaming by Numbers (2006)

In the narrow streets of Naples a lottery parlour has been run by one family for a few generations. Each and every customer has their favourite numbers and theories as to what brings good luck and how to interpret dreams using numbers.

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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Giuseppe Imbucci ...
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Salvatore Marra ...
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Angela Nioli ...
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Maria Nioli ...
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In the narrow streets of Naples a lottery parlour has been run by one family for a few generations. Each and every customer has their favourite numbers and theories as to what brings good luck and how to interpret dreams using numbers.

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Documentary

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17 February 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Brojevi za snove  »

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Best of PIFF
27 February 2007 | by See all my reviews

This is the best out of 15 films I saw at the Portland International Film Festival, despite a somewhat shoddy visual presentation (some insert shots are striking, but much of it looks like some kind of cross between video and 8mm). The documentary concerns the lottery system in the poorer section of Naples. Many residents, if not most, rely on an old, strange system of numerology to play it. They tell the clerks at the lottery office about a dream they had, for instance, and the main components of the dream are translated into numbers using a seemingly ancient book called "The Grimace" (why it is called this, along with a few other things, is never explained), or its more modern equivalents. It answers the eternal question: why do poor people throw their money away on the lottery, when they least of all can afford to? The answer in Naples is it is not just a token of hope, but a social activity, a way of parsing the events of their lives for sense and meaning, and simply a way of making life a game. Its at times strikingly strange (a drag queen running bingo games out of her apartment for buttoned-down little old Italian women would be an unforgivably contrived conceit in a fiction film, but one of the highlights of this one), surprisingly moving, often just surprising, and all around delightful. The fact that there are no other comments makes me worry for this film's fate--it has broad appeal. A genuinely heart-warming film, and I normally avoid those like the plague.


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