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Noble Earth (2017)

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A study of ennui and female repression within a world rarely seen onscreen - Italy's hermetic nobility.

Director:

Ursula Grisham

Writers:

Ursula Grisham (screenplay), Ursula Grisham
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Cast

Cast overview:
Daisy Bevan ... Emma
Elia William Cittadini Elia William Cittadini ... Tancredi
Pierangelo Menci Pierangelo Menci ... Lapo
Bettina Giovannini ... Ludovica
Lorenzo Fiuzzi Lorenzo Fiuzzi ... Lorenzo
Federico Signorelli Federico Signorelli ... Federico
Francesco Barbieri Francesco Barbieri ... Francesco
Manfredi Fiuzzi Manfredi Fiuzzi ... Enrico
Mohamed Zouaoui ... Aladin
Francesca De Martini ... Ginevra
Stefano Davanzati Stefano Davanzati ... Renato
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Storyline

Emma meets Tancredi in Florence, embarking on a love affair with the intoxicating cosmos he represents: endless days in the gauzy hills, the sun-blanched beaches. They become engaged. Soon, however, Emma becomes caught in family politics, learning what is expected of a woman in Florentine high society. The same beauty that intoxicated Emma reveals itself as superficial, and suffocates her. Noble Earth is a study of ennui and female repression within a world rarely seen onscreen - Italy's hermetic nobility.

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Genres:

Drama

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NOBLE EARTH shows the allure of modern Italian nobility and peels at its seemingly perfect exterior to reveal the decay laying within.
4 December 2017 | by contact-742-500835See all my reviews

Emma (Daisy Bevan) is an Englishwoman of Italian descent who has arrived at Florence, Italy from New York. She had spent some time during her childhood in Italy, and own a house there. Emma meets Tancredi, an Italian noble and member of a high-society family. At first, Emma enjoys the privilege that comes with belonging to Tancredi's social circle; spending her days at the beach, enjoying decadent meals and the constant flow of wine, the parties and the servants, eventually becoming engaged with Tancredi. However, Emma slowly begins to realize that she is not entirely free and that her position within the family comes with certain expectation, which lead to pressure and the clash of her values against a decadent aristocracy that is wearing away while indulging in its own hedonism.

When we meet Emma, she visits a cemetery, one where the graves are quite ancient in appearance and also opulent in design (although almost everything in Italy is beautifully designed) we never quite know whose grave that is. Later, Emma meets Tancredi, a handsome and young Italian (like most Italians apparently) who happens to have the distinction of being a member of Italian aristocracy. Emma feels welcome at first, as she's introduced to the rest of the family and her relationship with Tancredi deepens, enjoying all the privileges that come with it in the process. However, this beautiful world she has entered begins to show cracks, something ugly lies beneath the surface of its seemingly exuberant perfection. Or as some may say it simple terms: "Too good to be true". Emma begins to slowly notice how these "noble" families are actually quite casual when it comes to misogynistic attitudes and racial slurs, followed by elitism and rampant bigotry. As if this wasn't enough, Emma begins to realize that there's certain things expected of her if she's to be part of this family. Tancredi's mother, Ludovica (Bettina Giovaninni) is an ever present and almost intrusive presence between Emma and Tancredi, somehow making things even more difficult for Emma by pressuring her with overbearing kindness at all times, and passive/aggressive remarks that insinuate that Emma is not just part of the family, but basically "owned" by them. At one point, Ludovica's favorite horse breaks-out from the stables, later as Emma walks alone at the estate's grounds, she encounters the horse. She connects with the creature, projecting her own captivity into the animal, understanding exactly how the horse feels and wishing she could do the same, just break free from them, at the point that she keeps her encounter with the animal a secret. If the pressure of belonging to this family wasn't enough, Emma has to contend with their political views as well as the way they treat migrants in dehumanizing ways. While the film never makes this point clear, we believe Emma is not just clashing with the reality behind modern Italian nobility due to her convictions as she's seen deeply affected by the way nobles treat and view people, for she's also being confronted with what is like to be a noble herself and seeing what that means to her. We can only speculate that the grave Emma visits, belongs to one of her Italian ancestors, perhaps a member of a noble family on his own and therefore making Emma a member of high society herself. Perhaps that's what she came to Italy for, to discover who she is and where she belongs to, but once she found what she was looking for and being confronted with what it really means to be noble in modern day Italy, perhaps left her deeply disappointed, not just with Tancredi and his family but also possibly with herself.

NOBLE EARTH is directed by Ursula Grisham, who in her quest to realize her vision as truthfully and naturalistic as possible set her film in Florence, Italy shooting everything on-location and casting real local people as well as true members of nobility in an effort to grant the film as much verisimilitude as possible. The film is authentic in every sense of the word, capturing a world of superficiality and decadence that is seldom thought of today; modern day Italian nobility. Grisham shows these noble families as people who keep selling away their properties and valuables, sometimes for a good price and sometimes for a steal, all in the name of keeping a lavish life-style that allows them to preserve an image of opulence. Through the eyes of Emma, as played by Daisy Bevan, we see how they are content with doing nothing much besides eating amazing food, drinking copious amounts of wine, partying all night and spend their days at the beach, while also plotting their triumphant return as rightful rulers of Italy by entering into politics while dining among themselves. Grisham's work is through and detailed in presenting us with an experience that is both understandably alluring with privilege and oppressively toxic in its practices. Grisham is certainly a filmmaker to watch, for she manages to recreate experiences that feel personal and authentic through her lens. Speaking of which, cinematographer Kasper Wind Nielsen baths the screen in a naturalistic light, always keeping the film grounded in reality while also adding a stylistic visual flare that conveys Italy's obsession with aestheticism and design. The hauntingly ethereal score by Martin Velez sounds almost as if it came straight from Emma's own soul, almost as a quiet and repressed cry for help that reflects her internal conflict. Finally Daisy Bevan carries the film with her portrayal of a willing prisoner who's self-discovery arc is one that is played with as much restrain as she can, but with every discovery and disillusionment her calm and proper exterior slowly cracks until she rebels, almost like a storm that has been slowly growing within herself, until she can't take no more. These various elements constitute the strength of this project. Under no circumstances would I change any of these.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

2 June 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Lost in Florence See more »

Filming Locations:

Florence, Tuscany, Italy See more »

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Color
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