December 11, 2017No Comments

A Bigger Splash – Luca Guadagnino – 2015

An Italian, Luca Guadagnino understands bourgeoisie-bliss like no Frenchman ever could. Here is a murder story, yet such a guilt and gloom free one, that I can hardly remember when writing this (one month after seeing the film) what the fuss was all about in the third act. But what I vividly remember is the Ralph Fiennes devilishly dancing to a Rolling Stones tune, in what feels like a 5 minute take. I remember the boredom by the pool, the ripeness of Tilda Swinton, the cooking, the music, my deep joy of loosing the self in the distant illusion of living at least for a holiday, at least for a weekend, in the middle of that life. A Bigger Splash follows the 2009 brilliant I am Love.

July 23, 2017No Comments

La Pazza Gioia – Paolo Virzi – 2016

La Pazza Gioia (Like Crazy) is filmmaking at its best. It fills you with love and hope. Driven by an impossibly well crafted script, the film follows the awkward and relentless friendship of two women who meet as patients in a sort of light-form psychiatric compound, hosted inside a quaint Tuscan villa. Opposed in character, looks and troubles, Beatrice and Donatella find common ground in their need for second chances. One day, they flee the villa and begin their scouring of the real world for pieces of their former life. 

The performances are as raw and authentic as two psychotic Italian women roaming the streets will ever be. The exposition always delivered in the shadow of the women’s fantasies and deliriums, just enough so you don’t ever know if it fact or fantasy. 

But it’s in the characters’ simple wishes and good nature that lies the film’s soul. Somewhere along the middle, the women arrive at a hyper fancy glam restaurant, with no money to pay for it. They get there after Beatrice turns down Donatella’s proposal to go and have a sandwich by heartbreakingly saying: 
“A sandwich? Who ever found happiness in a sandwich?”

First time I ever want to hug a film.

November 15, 2016No Comments

Caro Diario, Nanni Moretti, 1993

Did you know this guy, Nanni Moretti? Italian filmmaker. HUGE. First time I heard about him was this year. The wonderful thing about cinema, or any art-form for that matter, is the sheer number of hidden greats. You just need to lift a rock and the variety of bugs living their crazy, sparkling lives under there is wow.  

Caro Diario / Dear Diary is what is commonly regarded as a gem. Simple, unpretentious, intensely humanistic, personal recounting of life. The film is divided in three parts. First we follow Moretti riding his scooter. Upbeat, almost silly, music rings out. We meet his friends, they ask themselves “What ever happened to our generation? We all changed for the worse. Sold out, compromised, co-opted.” The man is speaking for the forty-ishes, he’s honest and serious, yet is so goddamn playful and fresh that you fall for his scheme in no time. Everything is staged and stylised and fake. Which of course transcends to bring a form of deep truth out. Then we follow him hop on and off along different coastal islands, trying to find get inspiration for his film. He walks and plays with kids, out of the blue the soundtrack pops a song that sends ripples of intense emotion. The third part follow him visit numerous doctors, trying to find a cure for a skin rush that won’t go away. Of course it won’t, and so won’t we.

Film won Best Director at Cannes in 1994.

October 25, 2016No Comments

Youth, Paolo Sorrentino, 2015

Blatant overtly stylised take on being old and privileged.

Setup design become content more than content itself. 

The soft conflicts of the two main characters add a layer comic puffiness to the tone of the film. They might have “shared” a girl while young, but maybe not. One wrote a musical masterpiece, but won’t conduct it anymore because of demented wife in asylum. One was prime film director, not so the case with his latest work, hence death penalty by way of jump out the window. (made me think of Ida, and her aunt Wanda’s suicide)

The “Simple Song” played in the end is a good representation of the tone of the whole film, a kitschy, glam, superficial but nevertheless tasty definition of grace.

Old, not quite retired creative guys that made it in life cry too, whaddya say about that.

Mădălina Ghenea was surprisingly good in both her times on screen.

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