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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Three troubled adults in contemporary Turin look back on the summer in
the late '70s when their childhood and their dreams came crashing
to an end. Children of poor immigrants from Southern Italy, 13-year-old
Carmine, Sandro, and Cinzia spend their summer playing with their
friends in and around the abandoned warehouse of a scrap metal company.
Worldly-wise and adventurous, the children form their own little
society, with budding bully Carmine the stick-wielding chief, and
paramours Cinzia and Sandro parental figures to the youngest. When one
of their number turns up murdered, the children spring into action at
first attacking the developmentally challenged man who interrupts their
play, but then, after another child disappears, coming to understand
that the murderer is a well respected adult whom their parents consider
beyond reproach. And when Carmine's little sister goes missing, the
children make moral choices that will scar them for life.
Valerio Mastrandrea, Stefano Accorsi, and Valeria Solarino are superb as the lost souls who, even in their 40s, have yet to find any grounding in their lives. Equally superb are Giuseppe Furlo, Giampaolo Stella, and Giulia Cocellatto as their younger selves. Filippo Timi is memorable as the local doctor whose a-Capella singing of opera arias will make your hair stand on end.
Watching Ruggine is a difficult experience. While the abuse and murder of children is kept off-screen, writer-director Daniele Gaglianone nevertheless has his camera linger, too long for the viewer's comfort, on images of adults and children that make more than just the murderer seem like potential abusers. The English-subtitled Italian DVD is rated "T," which is the equivalent of our "G" or "PG," but a minimum "R" would be required here if this deeply disturbing film ever gets released at all.
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