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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
Almost every scene in the movie is a long take that lasts from 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Matteo Garrone is a heavy user of this technique, and you can find a lot of long takes in any of his movies. See more »
Nice film with many hilarious moments. A bit too long for my taste, and populated with too many heavily gesturing Italians. Plot based on real story
I saw this film as part of the Rotterdam film festival 2013 (IFFR), about someone pressured by his family to candidate himself for a Big Brother house. It all gets out of hand when he is not accepted initially but yet thinks to be on a sort of waiting list while being observed by the Big Brother team. He assumes being selected for a very special role in that TV show, and will be given a part later on when he proves to fit their criteria.
During the final Q&A the director said that the film is about dreaming to escape from reality and to loose one's identity. He describers the main character (Luciano) to be a victim of the system. Luciano desire to get into the Big Brother house comes from initial pressure by his family, though later on he himself gets a bit mad about it. He continues with rigor, in spite of protests from the same family that pressured him in the first place. The importance of the family cannot be stressed enough and has a crucial role in the story, something typical for Italy as stated by the director.
The story forming the basis for this scenario really happened to a brother of the director's wife. (By the way: He is fully recovered now. He has even re-opened his fish shop at the same spot in Naples.) And giving away his furniture to make a good impression on imaginary inspectors, was also real, even to the extent that his wife did not dare leaving the house in fear of finding it empty on return. Even the cricket that Luciano suspected to be full of camera's, appeared in reality too. The ending scenes seem a bit far fetched (I won't reveal details, for spoilers sake), but can be deemed all right if it really comes from the true story that was the basis of this film.
The director also said that the actors were taken from theater or cabaret (except one, a family member). Faces were an important criterion in the selection process. The roles they play and their appearances reflect a "normal" family from the region. That explains the overload of wrinkled people, and especially women looking like the stereotypical "mama" that we see in food commercials. Luckily, the main characters (Luciano and his wife) are not so bad looking, in contrast to their entourage.
All in all, the film is a nice product with many hilarious moments. It is a bit too long, in my opinion, particularly when you get easily annoyed by heavily gesturing Italians, talking with a waterfall of words (it looks that way for us, understanding no Italian) and overly dramatic movements. We won't consider this movie memorable, but it serves its purpose as family entertainment very well. Anyway, the audience seemed to enjoy themselves nevertheless. The venue (over 500 seats) was fully booked on a Sunday morning.
5 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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