Archive for the ‘Italy’ Category

Elio Perlman is a cosmopolitan kid who resides with his parents in their fancy summer-house somewhere in the north of Italy. Most of the time he’s just bored. He excels in the arts. Plays the piano, the guitar, reads a lot of books and is a bit of loner. His father does some archeological research in the area and has invited an American man to come help him. The man is dashing. He has the whole village under his charm. From the teenage girls to the poker playing seniors. However, this is Elio’s story and Elio falls in love with him.

The directing is fine. The shots are great to look at. The soundtrack really works well. Combining piano compositions with silly 80s italo-disco. The acting by newcomer Timothée Chalamat is remarkable. So different from the shy and uncomfortable appearances on talk shows. The movie makes you want to book a trip to Italy and it makes you want to retreat to go write a book or something and to fall in love with the first attractive stranger that comes around.

BUT. It’s a silly story. Boy falls for man. Man first keeps a distance. Boy starts exploring his sexuality with his best female friend. Man then lures boy into his bed. Boy dumps girlfriend. Man and boy have a holiday fling. The end. Two and a half hours long! Yawn. Yes, it’s a bit awkward to watch a blossoming relationship between an adolescent boy and a man. But watching Lolita is also awkward. But hey, it’s all consensual. The kid is a cool kid to empathize with. The man however is boring as hell. Why on earth is this kid interested in this man? That’s the big failure of this movie. The object of love and lust has the charisma of an abricot. Or no. The abricot has more charisma. Watch the movie to find out why.

Disappointed. The story is boring. The audio-visuals are beautiful. 


Posted: March 22, 2017 in 2016, Documentary, Italy

This is the kind of documentary that critics and festival-goers around the world love because of its subject, not because of its merits as a documentary. A good documentary gives you a better insight in something that you don’t really learn about otherwise. A good cinematic documentary shows you great images that make you feel involved. Unfortunately all of these elements are absent in this award-winning document of life on Lampedusa, the Italian island on which most refugees arrive from the African continent.

It’s sad, because the thousands of refugees arriving in Europa via a dangerous sea trait is a present-day topic that doesn’t seem to go away any time soon.

The idea of just showing images and limiting the amount of interviews is great! However, almost 80 % of the images are futile. We get it: there’s a contrast between the bored life of young fishermen’s kids and the enormous humanitarian crisis happening near their home. But what does it help to constantly see them being bored. The kids play with slingshots. So what. One kid needs to wear a patch in front of his good eye to have his lazy eye work a bit. Big deal. A mother requests a song for her son who’s at sea fishing. Yawn. The radio host plays it and reads the news about a collapsed refugee boat nearby. A doctor gives info to a refugee about her unborn twins. Then explains about the horror he’s seen in the boats that arrived on the island. Some refugees sing a song about their struggle. Some refugees pose for their first picture in Europe. Some refugees lie dead in the bottom part of a shabby boat.

But again. The images aren’t really telling anything more than what we know from reading the news. The images are boring as hell. And a documentary on a serious subject like this shouldn’t be boring. Ever.

Reality – (*)

Posted: January 20, 2017 in 1/2, 2012, Comedy, Italy

What a drag…

A local fish seller, who’s always ready to steal the show at family events, auditions for a part in the reality tv show Big Brother. He’s really convinced he will get selected and his close friends and family support him as well. But as the start of the new season gets closer and closer, he still hasn’t been contacted by the production team. Something must be wrong…

Maybe it’s funny if you know Italian society a bit better. Or if you are used to their comedies. If you’re not than this is just plain boring.

Lesson learnt for anyone holding job interviews or auditions: just sent a letter that you are not interested.

Lesson learnt for anyone starting o watch Italian comedies: pick another one to begin with.


La Nostra Vita – *(*)

Posted: January 17, 2017 in 2010, Drama, Italy, Social Drama, X1/2

An Italian construction worker discovers a dead body of an illegal worker at the construction site and doesn’t report out of fear that authorities will close down the place. A few days later he loses his wife during the birth of their third child. From then on his life becomes a mess. Left alone to raise three kids, he starts focussing on work. He’s able to blackmail his boss. He’ll keep the death of the illegal worker a secret in return for more responsibility during the building process of another project. But the job seems too difficult…

Elio Germano is great as the construction worker. He’s a bit of a prick, but he has a lot of  charm as well. His character feels real, even though the situation around him doesn’t.

There’s a lot of misery in this movie. So be warned. There’s hardly any humor and there’s hardly anyone to sympathize with. But some scenes make it worth the watch.


Riparo (Shelter Me) – *1/2

Posted: July 26, 2011 in 2007, Drama, Italy, X1/2

Seen on television

Two lesbians seem to live a happy life. Until they ‘adopt’ a young Moroccan kid. One lesbian feels like she needs to give him some shelter. the other is at first jealous, then of course falls for the charms of the kid and cheats on her wife. End of story.

If you read the sentence above and you feel like the movie is something for you; then it probably is something for you. If you read it and you think: boring; you will find it incredibly boring. Sure, there are some lesbian scenes. But the lesbians are not as hot as in Bound for instance. one is actually plain ugly. sorry. The acting is very bad. Especially the Moroccan kid cannot act. The idea of a young Moroccan kid trying to charm his way into the vagina of one of the lesbians is a bit perverse; the fact that he actually succeeds in it is silly.

Oh, it is an Italian movie and it takes place in a shoe factory. One of the lesbians works int he factory; the other one is the daughter of the homophobic owner of the factory. Drama!

Gomorra – **

Posted: July 30, 2010 in Crime/Detective, Documentary, Drama, Italy, XX

Seen at home on dvd

If everyone writes how great a movie is, I should see it right? Do I have to think it’s great too? No.

Gomorra really isn’t the master piece I thought it would be. It actually bored me. Not to death, but to almost falling asleep. NOT a good sign. I do like crime movies. And I do like reality pictures. But the combination didn’t work for me.

Why? Not sure. It’s a very depressing movie. There’s absolutely no hope in the story. There are no heroes. There aren’t even anti-heroes. There’s really no-one you feel sympathy for, apart from the fashion designer maybe. It is shocking to know this is the reality in the region around Naples, but I didn’t care about it at all. The main reason why I wasn’t that impressed by the movie is simply the lack of emotion. It has its merits to just show plain facts and to de-glamorize the mafia lifestyle. But I want to care for characters. I want to be moved when a character dies.  There’s nothing wrong with showing the lesser parts of our society, but try to involve the audience.

The movie follows five stories and jumps from one to the other and back. It’s not confusing, but it does slow down the entire experience. The actors are non-actors. That can work great (Entre Les Murs), but it can also become annoying, which was the case here. The two punks who think they can take over the local mafia on their own are overacting. The scene where they go to a strip club is one of the best scenes of the movie though. And there are several scenes that are noteworthy.

A winner of several awards and critically acclaimed it only drew audiences in some European countries. People want to see The Godfather. I want to see The Godfather again. It’s interesting to see how the local mafia kids prefer to watch Scarface. It really is the anti-Godfather movie as the dvd inlay explains. Judge for yourself.