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Il grande sogno (2009)
Presented as an important recollection from one of the leading Italian filmmakers, Michele Placido but the truth is that "Il Grande Sogno" (The Big dream) is merely a TV movie with lots of pretenses. Using 1968 as the starting point for a personal epiphany is not merely provocative but also intriguing and exciting. Unfortunately what comes across is a parade of prototypes repeating slogans in a sadly uninspired telling of what feels like a false memory. Riccardo Scamarcio the golden boy of the moment confirms once more that he has, still, a long way to go before he becomes an actor to be reckon with. Luca Argentero, somehow, has an immediacy and a sympathy that makes it easier and more pleasurable to connect with. Jasmine Trinca is a lovely presence on the screen in a character who is very superficially drawn but that she manages to inject with some truth. Michele Placido must decide, sooner or later, what kind of director he wants to be. This was presented like a very personal yarn but feels just like a job. Sluggish and rushed. Very disappointing.
Le temps qui reste (2005)
Melvil Poupaud and the essentials
Dying? Why? How? Do I have the chance to look at my own demise from where I'm standing and I'm given the chance, even if brief, to do what I can to arrive to the fatal randez-vous without a heavy heart. Is that possible? We live the question in painful, stunning moments of reflection. Melvil Poupaud's face is not merely beautiful but transparent. I decided very early one that he/his character and I were diametrically opposites and yet, I felt the communion, I was with him I sort of understood. I wept for him and for me, I wept for everyone I've lost and for all the ones I'm going to loose before I go. I've also decided that I like François Ozon very much. That his movies take me places in a brutally gentle way and I come out of this experiences with something new. Thank you very much.
Somebody Is Waiting (1996)
Stunning performances in an puzzling mess
I felt the need to see again this coming of age mess because I was haunted by those faces. Johnny Whitworth's pain is as vivid as it is beautiful. The frustration in Nastassjia Kinski's eyes is as piercing as it is recognizable. The weakness in Gabriel Byrne's brow is so real that made me uncomfortable. A man aware of his limitations but drinking the awareness away. Tiny, insignificant, talentless man and yet he manages to provoke a glimmer of compassion that becomes the central theme of the film: Forgiveness. The film seems to have been cut by the assistant chef of a third rate Chinese restaurant. Chop, chop, chop. I've been trying to find out the behind the scenes of this venture - I'm sure there is a story here - but I have found contrasting stories but more than anything, silence. The one thing in common from those I've been able to reach is an undiluted love and respect for the director and a profound loving memory of the experience.
Sangue: La morte non esiste (2005)
A Cult In The Making
I knew Libero De Rienzo as an actor for "Santa Maradona" but I didn't know he had directed a movie. Some time ago, an American director, Martin Donovan, directing an Italian movie spoke of "Sangue, la morte non esiste" as a movie that showed the infinite possibilities of the new Italian cinema. He used words to describe Libero De Rienzo that were full of genuine admiration. I felt kind of ashamed because I hadn't even heard of the movie and here I had, a non Italian, that was singing its praises. It took me a while to get the movie but now that I've seen it I have only one thing to say - Wow! and then the question-how is it possible that a one hundred per cent Italian movie that breaks every rule and does so, not only successfully, but aggressively upfront can be ignored in his own country? I'm sure there is an answer for that and the answer could explain the sadness of the present landscape as far as Italian movies are concerned. Besides the performances by Elio Germano (fantastic!) and Luca Lionello (hilarious!) there is a few minutes cameo by Libero De Rienzo himself that would be enough reason going to the movies for. Complimenti!
Il generale Della Rovere (1959)
Those Chilling Moments Of Truth
Roberto Rossellini, as a filmmaker, cannot be compared to anyone else. Not because of any camera technique but because his mind, to tell a story, took shortcuts through truly dangerous territories. The nervous center of the Italian human nature is dissected with fierceness, compassion and even a touch of admiration. Redemption coming in the most unexpected form as a last, final test. Who am I, really? Could I at the last moment of my life become the man I always wanted to be? Beautiful, poignant, terrifying. Vittorio De Sica gives one the best performances of his eclectic and extraordinary career. The traveling of his thoughts seem to come out of the screen with the same intensity as his real smallness, his fear, his painful self awareness. Truth, with all is uncomfortable connotations 24 frames a second.