It is no surprise that even the official presentation copy from the 64th Venice Film Festival had little hope for this movie to win any prize, though it was enthusiastically entered in the fray. It is the third worst movie I have ever seen in my life. I let you imagine which the other two are.
Franchi was quoted by the media saying something to the tune "we wanted to show thin line between consciousness and unconscious". I am afraid he made such a mess of it that the line was completely blurred.
Of course Italian media will not be so drastic about it. This movie is the first one I remarked as being produced by both RAI and RTI, the arch-rivals on the TV market, who, between the two of them, control 90% of the advertising media market. I have not yet read commentaries from the papers, but I am almost certain they will contain an avalanche of sustaining and reinforcing platitudes meant to salvage the production from the fiasco they deserve. It will be the same kind of idiocies that Nanni Moretti ironically made one of the characters in "Caro Diario" - a critic who had incensed the gory 'Harry' - apologize for in one of the most successful revenges of good vs. bad art I have ever witnessed.
This is bad art. It is not even art. It is pornography. I can specify why. A leading critic, a Mr. Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, once clarified a method to sieve porn out of other more acceptable art forms: "If the characters spend too much time coming in and out of doors, then it is porn".
Franchi not only has provided us with an enormous load of coming in and out of doors, but has provided us with the most explicit sex scenes after M.me Breillat opened the flood. With a difference: in her movies, those made sense. In this, they do not. The fact that she was in the jury did not help the movie win anything. I am glad about that.
Production has been approximative. Even with the sustain of RTSI, a Swiss National TV channel, which explains why the characters have to be idiotically speaking French and Italian, and live in a suspended state between Turin and Geneva, the story and the filming make senseless fumbles of logic and of basic "homework".
Two examples. Who would be the idiot to take a train from Turin to Geneva (a trip between 7 and 11 hours as per the online schedules) when a car ride would be only 2? How would the protagonist be delivered to his parents' villa (somewhere outside Geneva) by a taxi of the Canton Vaud, which he should have allegedly boarded in Geneva town? Anyone who spent more than 1 hour in Switzerland would know that is impossible. So should have known the people from the Swiss production, who, evidently, let this project progress in a very un-Swiss mess. Alas, if these were the only shortcomings of the movie...
I had a series of unintended (by the director) laughter episodes throughout the movie. The biggest one was during the "infamous" masturbation scene, when the two actors are asked to laugh through the evidently cut-to-fit scene. The problem is that in this movie there was nothing to laugh about. A total misery.
I have not seen Mr. Franchi's earlier work, but I do hope it was of a completely different caliber from this disaster.
My sadness was compounded by seeing a Maria De Medeiros cast in it. Possibly the only actor who had a part with some sensible lines, and possibly the only actor to act. They probably convinced her into joining with a different script.
A last comment needs to be dedicated to the deafening soundtrack. I am sure Franchi meant it to underline the crescendos of tension and the inner altered states that the poor actors were not able to deliver on screen with their talent alone. The deafening noises were met by an equally deafening utter silence from the audience as the movie ended. Probably I was not the only one in disbelief.
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