Ciao (2008) Poster


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Gentle, Heart Warming, and Believable
lincoln-1523 February 2009
I recently saw 'Ciao' at a film festival in Australia and it turned out to be one of my favorites. I think it beautifully captured the cautious and quiet interactions we have with people who we barely know and who are from another country and culture. It was also a wonderful example of how we relate to another person who was unknown to us yet deeply loved the same person that we ourselves have loved. The common ground that two people have when they have both independently loved a third is thoughtfully explored.

This movie is for those who love to think about (and ponder) dialog. It is also for people who enjoy a solid script delivered by actors that quietly deliver the goods. To me it was both believable and possible, which made it even more endearing. I was afraid that the film was going to go in a predictable direction and have a Hollywood style ending but this temptation was (thankfully) resisted. Instead the audience was provided with a very moving, heart warming, and realistic conclusion. I felt the movie was full of meaning, but you had to be listening and patient. The movie was about the journey of two people who shared common ground and the connection between them because of it. I recommend it highly.
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Unpoken Emotions, Unnecessary Words
gradyharp3 April 2010
CIAO is a quiet little film - on more levels than one. The title of the movie is well chosen: 'Ciao' can mean both hello and goodbye, and that is the essence of this subtle film. Written by director Yen Tan and actor Allesandro Calza it is a very contemporary story about love and enduring feelings. The film takes its time, very literally, dwelling on still shots of doorways, paths, profiles, etc while the message of the film slowly surfaces. It is more an elegy than a story and it works quite well.

We first meet Jeff (Adam Neal Smith) as he is packing up the belongings of his longtime friend Mark who has just died, and in doing so he comes across Mark's computer and discovers messages to and from an Italian man named Andrea (Alessandro Calza), messages that define an internet relationship that ends with Mark's death. Andrea doesn't know about Mark's passing and when Jeff answers one of the emails stating that Mark has died, Andrea states he is on his way to the US for a wedding and that he had planned to meet Mark face to face in Dallas. Jeff extends the invitation to keep Andrea's plans, meets him at the airport, and invites him home where a long series of talks reveal the histories of both men and reminiscences of Mark. The mutual loss - one of a friend, the other of a potential love - mix and a new friendship of understanding and caring is born. Much to the credit of the writing, directing and acting, the ending is unexpectedly real - again recalling the title of the movie.

Some will find this film too slow and too 'empty', but for viewers who appreciate still life paintings and poetry, this film will satisfy.

Grady Harp
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It is just like mine, very moving story
ralis-sinclair19 April 2009
I was skeptical at first when I read the synopsis before watching this movie. I thought it would be something just like other atypical movie that tried so hard to be different that everything fell apart. Instead, this movie has seen so much emotion that I found to be very emphatic, at least to me. Every scene has detailed emotions that I would be doing the same thing if I am going to be in that situation. About meeting internet friends, I have done that for several times, a thousands of miles away from home, and I have welcomed several net friends to my place, and therefore, the experience of this movie was trying to portray is pretty much the same what I have had before, but minus the romance. The feeling when we were parted indescribable. I was about to cry myself when I left my friend in the airport.After all, it is all the same. This movie really had moved me in some ways, because some of my experiences were on screen. The only gripe, maybe the movement of the movie is a little bit slow at times, but I really appreciate the emotion and character brought into this movie. If you are still hesitate to watch this movie, just give it a try. Hasta luegos.
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A gem in lean times!
dexquoter20 August 2009
The makers of this film deserve every accolade that is written praising their work! "Ciao" is a truly remarkable film! What a pleasure to see a work of art that is not ashamed to deal with a sensitive theme in a tasteful and - to quote a word used in the script - UNcheesy - way. The script, acting, direction, lighting, editing and casting are all excellent. Overall the work achieves all that it sets out to do: tell a real life drama in a way that we VERY seldom see from Hollywood. "Ciao" does so with sensitivity, realism and genuine empathy for real human fears, joy, sadness and compassion. There is none of your usual quickly flashed, clichéd camera-work, or clever lines that pander to mediocrity and formula. "Ciao" is a film that takes its time to reveal the inextricably entangled knot of emotion, history, motive, intent, reactions, fate and timing that are a part of real life. What is particularly rewarding is that it does not rely on formula to tell the story. It is a film that is highly recommended to anyone who is a serious student of cinema as an art form. It sings as an echo to another great film by Woody Allen - "Interiors." The music, and indeed the lack of music in many of the scenes is beautifully apt and innovative. "Ciao" reminds us that we are too dependent on anticipation to make us feel comfortable. Art does not have the purpose of making us feel comfortable; art has the purpose of showing us reality and making us relate to that in the way we can best understand it. "Ciao" does this.
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Unique & Unusual
donwc199622 June 2014
This film is not just unique it is also very unusual in that it simply does not live up to the preconceived hype associated with films in this genre. First of all, the director's style is fantastic because unlike every director on the planet he does not move the camera. Each shot is like a still life. This probably will drive some people crazy, but I loved it. Then there is the story. You just never know what is going to happen and eventually you realize nothing does happen. In this day and age when every scene in a movie is supposed to move the story forward, this film absolutely stands still so that combined with the non moving camera the film is like a series of still photos which in itself is quite abstract and surreal. The two leads are both very handsome and very charming and engaging. But the lack of action combined with the still-life photography really gives the two leads a great deal of character and depth that you just do not see in today's films.
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Subdued, Slow-Paced Look at Two Men Seeking Solace in Their Mutual Grief
EUyeshima6 April 2010
Made on the cheap with a no-name cast, this intentionally intimate 2008 drama focuses on the aftermath of an auto accident which killed a young man named Mark, in particular, the impact of his unexpected death on two men – one is his best friend and roommate Jeff, and the other is Andrea, a Genoese Italian with whom Mark has been corresponding online. Mark is shown in a brief silent bit at the very beginning and later in flashback episodes and videotape. Director Yen Tan keeps the story economical by then segueing into a series of e-mails between Jeff and Andrea, at which point we find out Mark died just as Andrea was coming to visit him. Touched by Andrea's sincerity, Jeff invites him to come anyway.

What occurs from that point is not a predictable romance in typical queer cinema fashion but more the escalation of an unwieldy relationship that forms between the two survivors, neither of whom can quite accept Mark's death. It becomes clear that Jeff, a genuine mensch leading an unremarkable life, has unresolved feelings for Mark, and although he's out (thanks to Mark's influence), Jeff cannot liberate himself from the unrequited love he appears to covet. As you would expect, Andrea is serious eye candy with a conscience, a catch by most cinematic conventions, yet the filmmaker focuses on the tentative nature of their burgeoning relationship as an expression of both men's grief.

The only other character in the movie is Jeff's acerbic Asian-American stepsister Lauren, played efficiently by Ethel Lung, but she seems to enter and exit merely to comment on the obvious. The pacing is absurdly slow with lots of close-ups and long takes with little action. As Jeff, Adam Neal Smith is sincere but overly bland, just not compelling enough to maintain the film's emotional pivot point. On the other hand, Alessandro Calza brings sensitivity to the somewhat idealized role of Andrea, perhaps not a coincidence since he is the co-screenwriter (with Tan). The movie slips by unobtrusively in a subdued, almost hushed tone, but despite some awkward moments, including an inevitable scene late in the film, the emotional honesty makes this worth seeing. The 2010 DVD includes a comprehensive if not altogether informative commentary track from Tan and Calza plus the original theatrical trailer.
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I really enjoyed this movie!
I see others who reviewed this movie didn't care much for it, but I personally really enjoyed it. I thought the script was well written and included a lot of details that are sometimes left out of movies. The story line had me interested the whole way through. Definitely a movie to watch when you feel like relaxing as it isn't fast moving and the characters/actors are kinda quiet and "tread lightly" through the movie. That being said, it made for a more interesting movie to me as it left more to my imagination and had me glued to the TV begging for things to go the way I wanted them to. I would definitely like to see more from these actors but so far it seems that they aren't in a lot of films. I hope they plan to do more!
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Heartwrenchingly Subtle - Beautiful
cynjendrejcak15 June 2010
This was a wonderfully subtle film. Although primarily focusing on Jeff and Andrea, there was always a powerful third character present- the overwhelming and mind-numbing grief both men felt for Mark.

That grief was practically tangible throughout the entire film and I think those that enjoyed the film recognize that. And to those that say that the film felt disjointed and stilted, I say that it was a perfect expression of that intense grief.

I liked the fact the fact that they (Andrea and Jeff) became intimate the way they did, it was sensual and plausible and more meaningful than any sort of a trope hookup. The minimalist music was fantastic and again, the stretches of absolute silence in the film added to the sensation of grief and loss. The ending worked for me as well, giving both men the reminder that there is a future without Mark, and that just maybe that future could include each other.
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Loved it!!!
ohlabtechguy15 January 2017
Being trapped in Ohio, feel like I'm missing out on so much good gay drama. This movie is a prime example. Loved the two masculine, normal acting gay characters. Both characters seemed real and was glad to see they didn't hop in bed at first sight. The Italian character was simply lovable...and his "missing a dick" comment was hilarious, despite being said in a serious context. Of course, wasn't everyone hoping they'd finally take an interest in each other. At the end, in the airport, there was a glimmer of hope that the Italian would be asked to stay for a few more weeks....but that didn't happen. Still, there was a strong possibility they would see each other again. Acting was good...pace sometimes too slow...but loved the whole concept.
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octoberguy6024 December 2008
This movie is laughably bad. Every shot is held three times longer than necessary... the script lacks any exploration of emotions that would be warranted by the circumstances and is filled with banal chatter rather than driving a story. The direction is wooden and the actors aren't much better. It appears as if the writer and director are afraid of exploring emotion, and use a plodding score and a lot of quiet tormented posing to imply emotional pain. The photography offers nothing in terms of visual meaning or interesting shots. Nothing happens in Ciao and nothing is truly resolved. This is an intriguing story concept that is completely wasted. You want to feel sad or happy or empathetic or something; you just feel bored. And the sighs from the audience confirmed a communal sense of boredom. One of the worst films I've ever seen.
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A simple love story is not enough.
pichino4 March 2012
Simple gay-theme movie. Simple story, low budget. But there are plenty of simple movies that still manage to bring emotions, messages and great scenes. This movie is not one of these.

The acting is so poor that it completely ruins the good part of a story that it's way too simple itself.

My opinion: if you'd like to see something like this movie but they way it should have been, try to take a look at "Le Fate Ignoranti" by Ferzan Ozpetek (hope I spelled it right) whose story is not as simple but it's definitely something better.

Not impressed by this movie.
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Not a review but a question
littlesatanhooves31 July 2021
Who was Jeff talking to on the phone when he said "I dropped some stuff off at your parents", a few hours after he delivered some documents to an elderly couple who are supposed to be the parents of the recently deceased Mark? I assume that the person he is talking to is an unseen sibling of Mark. Who else could it be right? This segment occurs about 16 minutes into the movie.
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Subtle but points where the storyline seems asleep
codygdietrich21 December 2020
It truly is a film where part of me wants to say it is good because it is a bit of an unusual storyline that addresses sadness and loss in a touching and sensitive way that isn't depressing and another part of me wants to say there really isn't much a story to make the movie interesting. There are points where it's a minute or two long scene of a guy not moving, I'm not sure what they were trying to accomplish with those scenes but they didn't succeed because nothing is happening and it just feels like an editing mistake. Overall it's not a terrible film but I think it would be better to go a bit deeper with their conversations of their memories.
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I had forgotten why I liked film so much
azplanner5 June 2018
I discovered this film this evening almost random choice on my new Roku setup.....ten years after it was released. It isn't perfect but it is so close, and certainly not enough to detract from its simple beauty of story and filmmaking with soul. It is art. Pace, storytelling revealed slowly, unique camera shots, dialog, silence, simplicity, beauty. It drew me in. Kept me. Emotions throughout. Just brilliant. Art. I want to see it again.
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Fine Piece Of Art
fabiosarsgaard20 March 2016
This movie is brilliant for any gay person who has ever used one of those app's like grinder or scruff....Relationships can be built based on love and tenderness and there is still good in people...The acting is amazing and you believe that the feelings are there and you can't help but feeling hopeful that people can actually love each other, death and loss of a loved one can bring people together in ways that we do not even imagine... The ending leaves it up to your imagination, for the viewers to decide what happened which is a great thing and do not impose to you an affirmative closure. One critic once told me that Americans didn't watch the movie because of it's title CIAO which doesn't surprise me since most of them are not aware that there is life outside Hollywood.
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Suradit29 March 2015
Mark and Jeff are the best of friends. Jeff would have liked their friendship to go beyond their close but platonic relationship. Unfortunately they never seem to click on that level, possibly because Jeff isn't Marks "type." Or possibly because the nature of their bond might be jeopardized by sex.

Mark has "met" Andrea, an Italian, online and they have talked a few times by phone. Since Andrea will be in New York for a wedding, they plan for him to come to Dallas for a couple of days so they can finally meet in person.

Mark is killed in a road accident and Jeff assists the family in sorting out his things. He goes through Mark's emails, in part to know who might need to be notified about the death, but clearly he wants to know a bit more about his friend and discovers that Mark revealed more about himself to Andrea than he ever shared with Jeff.

When he receives an email sent to Mark by Andrea detailing his anticipated trip to Dallas, Jeff replies informing Andrea of the death and suggesting that he cancel the trip. Soon after he has second thoughts and suggests Andrea come to Dallas as planned and spend those few days as his guest.

Most of the film is devoted to conversation between Jeff and Andrea as they share their thoughts about Mark and learn more about each other.

The most striking thing about the movie was the intelligent scripting of the dialogue between them, sometimes reflecting their impressions of Mark, sometimes asking ridiculous things about each other, sometimes lighthearted and apparently superficial, sometimes poignantly revealing. Surely it was scripted, but it seemed totally natural and spontaneous.

It could easily have been maudlin or gone over-the-top emotionally but, aside from one emotional release, it was subtle and low- keyed. In some respects it was mysterious because you were never sure where it was all heading.

My only complaint was that Andrea, though very fluent in English, occasionally, naturally stumbled over some American idiom, but at other times Jeff used Americanisms that Andrea could not have understood, but Andrea doesn't bat an eye.

Different forms of grieving and attempts to deal with loss have certainly been explored to death in films, so in that sense there is nothing remarkable about the story concept. The scripting, the acting, the directing and the photography do lift this above what might have been another overly sentimental tear-jerker though.
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Really bad
Ali_7843431 July 2009
It's not often I can't be bothered to finish a film after starting to watch it but with this film is happened. As soon as the actors starting speaking I turned to my girlfriend just to check it wan't only me that thought the acting was terrible. Her look said it all.

It's a shame. Before watching the film I saw the very high IMDb score (but forgot to look at the number of votes) and was expecting to sit down to a cult classic, indeed the first 2-3 minutes set the scene with a suitably art-house feel but then.... oh dear.

Oh no! Now IMDb wants me to write a minimum of 10 tens without padding I'm not sure that I can do that without just repeating that this film is bad. I don't hold any illusions to be some master film critic but I know bad acting and a bad film when I see one.

Just don't bother.
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An OK story about loss and grief
cekadah1 April 2014
There is a lot of praise for this little movie. It's well enough deserved as the atmosphere created by the photography is intimate and quiet.

Mark, the principle character, suffers the death of his close friend by an accident. Andrea is a friend that Mark never heard of from his now deceased friend. Mark invites Andrea to visit as the plans were already made before the accident. Andrea is in Italy, Mark is in Texas.

This sort of threw me as it is never made fully known how the deceased friend came to know Andea, other than through the internet. Andrea gets around we learn through his conversations with Mark. In my opinion Andrea is a paid escort but he never confesses this to Mark as he discovers that Mark is a very old friend of the dead guy and had great respect for him. Andrea has feelings and doesn't want to disillusion Mark with his true purpose for the visit.

Andrea goes back to Italy. I state this because Andrea comes across as patronizing and insincere.
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