by Anna D’Agostino
Three Italian movies in competition.
Two second works, one third.
Three young filmmakers, all between thirty and forty years of age, who are little known to the general public.
This, in short, is the risk that Marco Mà¼ller has taken.
A courageous move for many, a necessary decision for others considering the absence of more high-ranking names from Amelio to Bellocchio, to Placido and Salvatores.
The fact remains that Mà¼ller’s choice, with all the connected risks and unknown factors, opens a new chapter.
A new, salutary need to “dare” is being reliably promoted by the Venice Film Festival, in some way supported and motivated by the splendid recovery of our movie industry.
The titles have already been widely announced. “Il dolce e l’amaro”, the second movie directed by scriptwriter Andrea Porporati after “Il sole negli occhi” in 2001; “Nessuna qualità agli eroi”, by Paolo Franchi, three years after “La spettatrice”; and “L’ora di punta”, the third feature by Vincenzo Marra, after “Tornando a casa” (the 2001 winner of Venice’s “Settimana della Critica”) and the much awarded “Vento di terra” in 2004 (including the Fipresci award at the Venice Film Festival and a special presentation at the “Semaine de la Critique” in Cannes). “Il dolce e l’amaro”, produced by Francesco Tornatore’s Sciarlò and Medusa “” which will be distributing the movie in theaters from 5th September “” is the story of the progressive affi liation of a young man, Saro Scordia (Luigi Lo Cascio), with Cosa Nostra, and his life as an “ordinary mafia” criminal, violent, contradictory, paradoxical.
The title (which literally means “The bitter and the sweet”), as Porporati himself explains in his comments to the movie, is based on a phrase much used in the world of mafia gangs: a man of honor, in order to be defined as such, knows that he has to be able to enjoy the “sweet” “” power, wealth, respect “” and handle the “bitter” “” prison, the death of others as well as himself.
Saro will experience both in a story which the director himself has said that, in the final analysis and possibly unconsciously, he uses to portray the absurdity of modern life.
In addition to Lo Cascio, the rich cast includes Donatella Finocchiaro, Fabrizio Gifuni, Tony Gambino, Vincenzo Amato and Renato Carpentieri. “Nessuna qualità agli eroi”, produced by ITC Movie, with Bianca Film and Ventura Film, in collaboration with Rai Cinema, RTI and RTSI Televisione Svizzera, distributed by BIM, has been defined by Franchi himself as an “existential noir”.
There are three protagonists: Bruno (Bruno Todeschini), Luca (Elio Germano) and Anne (Irène Jacob), “anxious characters” “” as the director describes them – hesitant and uneasy, the survivors of an existence for which they can find no meaning.
Three life journeys anchored to a painful present which lacks any idea of a future, as the opening scene in which Bruno learns from his doctor that he will not be able to have children, appears to metaphorically suggest.
“L’ora di punta”, produced by R&C Produzioni, French Connection and Rai Cinema, which will be distributed by 01 Distribution from 7th September, also features three characters.
Filippo (Michele Lastella), first a young Tax Police officer, subsequently a skilled and corrupt real estate agent; Caterina (Fanny Ardant), an educated and elegant woman, in love with Filippo and the instrument of his irresistible rise; and Francesca (Giulia Bevilacqua), Filippo’s young fiancée, who is far removed from his cynical, unscrupulous world.
“With this third movie,” as Marra stated in an interview with “La Repubblica” newspaper, “I have decided to go over to the other side, to talk about evil winners instead of good losers”.
Completing the list of features present at the Lido as Out of Competition Events is “Hotel Meina”, the new movie by Carlo Lizzani, with Benjamin Sadler, an Italian- Serbian-French co-production (Titania Produzioni, Film ’87, Plaza Film, in collaboration with Rai Cinema, distributed by Mikado).
Based on the novel of the same name by Marco Nozza, the film portrays a tragic event: the massacre of 54 Jews, evacuated from the towns around Lake Maggiore, by the SS in September 1943.
Finally, the documentary “Madri”, by Barbara Cupisti, is in competition in the Orizzonti section.
Produced by Rai Cinema and Digital Studio, it shows the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the private, universal dramas of the mothers of the victims on both sides. Mothers who cry with the same pain.
Mothers who have decided to set up an organization to unite Palestinian and Israeli parents in an attempt to find an alternative to hate and violence and teach mutual understanding to future generations.
Cinema&Video International n.8-9 August/September 2007