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Valeria Bruni Tedeschi
Valeria Bruni Tedeschi,
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Carole Le Page,
A stunning film, both visually and musically. What a wonderful use of "Asturias" in the funeral scene. The Bruni Tedeschis were certainly brought up to appreciate beauty. The director-cum- star is on record as saying she didn't like to think of the film as autobiographical. How, when the film set is her childhood home and life so full of parallels? *possible spoiler* Castello Castagneto Po, bought and renovated by her father, was sold to a Saudi in 2009 after her brother died of AIDS. The only time the grand edifice was opened to the public is in this film. The credits conspicuously omit to name the film set. (But do hang in there and watch them all: if not, you'd miss the most joyous tribute to tomato soup I've ever had the pleasure of seeing.) That said, of course Louise is a caricature. A brave one.
Some critics called "Un château en Italie" self-indulgent, suggesting Bruni Tedeschi was asking for sympathy in scenes like the one where her mother lists the costs of their pile of bricks, or the auction. I beg to differ. She's just telling it the way it is. What more can one ask of a good movie? It gives us a glimpse into a closed world, the most colourful and entertaining one I've seen since Il Gattopardo. (There are a few contemporary documentaries, but Warren Buffet's granddaughter was cut off for her part in Jamie Johnson's "Born Rich". Nobody's going to repeat that any time soon.) On the other hand, great wealth is a wet dream to the public. We see the castles. We don't see the financial and human costs. Bruni Tedeschi questions the golden calf. She not only dares to depict her milieu - she even got her mother to help. Although they were the in-laws of the French president at the time. She must have seen the reactions coming; she'd been there after "Il est plus facile pour un chameau". How did her wealthy peer group react? Perhaps worse... What should she be doing, in the opinion of those critics? The done thing is either to do good and talk about it, American style; or to shut up, European style. She fits neither cliché: she makes films about money and the complex effects it has on people, but not about the doing good. There is a foundation fighting AIDS named after her brother, and she adopted a kid from Africa. Please keep those movies coming, signora!
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