Monday, 5 October 2015

IFF MOVIE REVIEW: MIA MADRE



5/5

It's a testing time in Margherita's life. She had just broken up with her boyfriend, there are endless problems on the set of her new movie, her daughter doesn't want to study, and on top of all her mother is dying in the hospital. What lessons, if any, are in store for Margherita, as she battles her way through this life crisis.

MIA MADRE is a slice of life movie, that echoes Fellini's "8 1/2". While it draws a lot of inspiration from that film, the movie tells its own, very personal story.   

Director Nanni Moretti mixes dreamlike sequences with a daily routine, which  creates a unique style, it sucks you in from the very beginning.

John Torturro is a welcome presence with his larger than life character Barry Huggins - an unfortunate Hollywood star that wrecks havoc on Margherita's shoot. But any comedy is quickly absorbed by sadness of Margherita's brother Giovanni, played by the director Nanni Moretti himself. His well hidden depression is a reflection of the extreme grief Margarita may succumb to at any moment. Margherita Buy as Margherita delivers the depth and emotion well, but her performance is undermined by the others around her - a true director she wants to direct not just her films but her own life, but it does rob her from being "a star" of her own story.  Margherita stumbles through her days leading to the unavoidable and is literally drowning. One of the scenes when she wakes up in a flooded apartment is a symbol of that.

The movie is hard to watch at times, especially the scenes with Margherita's fading away mother - she really is the centre of it all and the main point of unresolved conflict in the drama created around her, although she is totally oblivious to this. Margherita's mother is naturally and tenderly portrayed by a veteran actor Giulia Lazzarini.

Dealing with regrets of a middle aged life, the movie, it seems, attempts to grasp for the moment and hold it in the palm of its hand. MIA MADRE is a remarkable little film where sadness prevails over joys of life.


Saturday, 3 October 2015

IFF MOVIE REVIEW: PEREZ



41/2/5

Dimitrio Perez is a low ranking lawyer who had lost his way in life. His job is a dead end, his wife had left him and his daughter is dating a gangster. A chance encounter with the band of thugs on the street, when his life is threatened, makes him re-think his existence and accept a deal from a mob man he is defending. This deal is supposed to be the solution to all his problems, but he needs to be one step ahead of of his adversaries. And for a man who had never made a single risky decision in his life it may be just too much to bear.

PEREZ is a modern slow burning noir, unpredictable both in character and plot department. Italian mega star Luca Zingaretti is brilliant as a reserved and broken man who has nothing left to lose. The plot puts his character into an impossible situation, and makes him crawl out of it by sheer planning, plotting, improvisation and keeping his head cool. Saying that, PEREZ is not full of action. The story develops slowly but gradually, building up to a tense and satisfying climax.

On the negative side, the film is just too serious. The are many scenes that are screaming for some dark humour inserts, but are just too somber for their own good.

Naples is a stage for the movie, and you had never seen Naples on screen like this - a modern quarter, built of glass and iron, which belongs in Singapore rather than Italy. For the characters, the city presented as a cage of their ambitions and desires, and  the techno soundtrack delivers the sound of broken glass from time to time, as if signifying their attempts to break free.

Perez is a thinking man thriller with great performances, clever cinematography and gives you something to dwell upon when the credits will roll.
 

Thursday, 1 October 2015

IFF MOVIE REVIEW; PARTLY CLOUDY WITH SUNNY SPELLS (TEMPO INSTABILE COM PROBABILI SCHIARITE)



21/5/5

Ermanno and Giacomo are two friends and partners in a small furniture business. As their finances are running dry threatening the closure of the factory an incredible thing occurs - they discover the the oil on their backyard. To put the oil on a production rails requires a significant investment of money and effort, and the two old friends go head to head when their opinions on what to do with the grand discovery differ. What will win, the honest stubbornness or practicality?

There are films that are not intended for an international market and PARTLY CLOUDY is one of those films. Oriented mainly for the family viewing it includes animation sequences that are too unoriginal to attract younger viewers while the two middle aged men arguing over the oil does not make an intensive enough experience for an older audience either. Even the charisma of the ever popular  Luca Zingsretti in the role of Giacomo is somehow inefficient in this well written, but weakly shot comedy.

The problem with PARTLY CLOUDY is not that it is not good, it simply not good enough. This is something that should have been written for a small screen and stay there. Things could have been different if the move was more fast paced, with gags and laugh out loud jokes. As it is, the film is not something I would recommend to anyone. You will go along with PARTLY CLOUDY if you have started watching it, but with so many other films on offer, it will be unlikely you will ever make time for it.