The film serves as Garrone's English-language debut and will interweave three separate story strands bookended by brief bits in which Italians Alba Rohrwacher and Massimo Ceccherini will ... See full summary »
The debut feature by acclaimed Italian director Paolo Sorrentino (Il Divo) is a stylish and blackly comic look at the dark side of fame. Evocatively set during the eighties, the film charts... See full summary »
Luciano is a Neapolitan fishmonger who supplements his modest income by pulling off little scams together with his wife Maria. A likeable, entertaining guy, Luciano never misses an opportunity to perform for his customers and countless relatives. One day his family urge him to try out for Big Brother. In chasing this dream his perception of reality begins to change. Written by
When I started watching this movie I thought "Well, the director is Garrone and the movie is set in Naples, so it must be a copy of Gomorrah or something like that". Instead I was surprised of how Garrone nicely brought up another aspect of Naples and its inhabitants. The setting is a poor neighborhood in the Italian port city and the main character is Luciano, a fishmonger and father of two children. His daily life is ordinary and uneventful and he struggles to earn money through his first job and his second one which consists in cheating people by selling them some cleaning devices. Everything could change when he has the opportunity to participate to the Big Brother rehearsals where he can exploit his qualities as entertainer. His certainty of making it to the show is so strong that he becomes paranoid about people of the Big Brother casting staff spying on him to see if he's really a character as he claims to be in everyday life. He does many crazy things like selling his fishmonger activity and doling out his personal belongings to poor people in order to impress the alleged casting personnel following him. His mental condition soon worsens and develops into craziness which of course affects inevitably his family life. What I liked best about this movie is how Garrone underlines how miserable everyday life can be and how everyone is in search of the big opportunity to get out of misery. This however can lead to ruining personal and family life. I also appreciated how the director shows how some feelings and actions can be so evidently false as that of Luciano of being overly generous with poor people only for personal purposes. One last thing I would like to mark is Garrone's style of shooting, which was quite like that of Gomorrah, that's very simple and with seemingly amateur close shootings. Compared to Gomorrah however I would say that he wanted to give a more dreamy touch and also something Fellinesque: in one scene Luciano comes back home from the Big Brother rehearsal in Rome and, in the beautifully lit neighborhood, he's welcomed by his neighbors as a hero. In the next scene the neighborhood is showed in daytime during its normal daily activity, presenting all its simplicity and misery. Therefore an evident contrast is shown between dream and reality.
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