Ozpetek’s coming out in the south
by Boyd van Hoeij
16/02/2010 - Ferzan Ozpetek’s latest film, Loose Cannons [trailer], sees him back in a lighter serio-comic mood after the somewhat heavy-handed drama A Perfect Day [trailer]. The film, co-written by novelist Ivan Cotroneo, unspools in the Panorama Special sidebar at the Berlinale.
The coming-out story set in Italy’s deep south, in Apulia, stars Riccardo Scamarcio as Tommaso, the youngest son of a family of industrial pasta-makers. He returns home from Rome, where he is studying, to celebrate the take-over of the family business and decides he will finally tell his family he’s gay.
But Tommaso’s dutiful older brother, Antonio (Alessandro Preziosi), has something similar to share with the family, and does so before Tomasso has had a chance to say anything about himself. Following this unexpected revelation, their conservative father (Ennio Fantastichini) throws Antonio out of the house and has a heart attack, unexpectedly leaving the factory to the youngest son.
Set in beautiful Lecce, the film plays with conventions of commedia all’italiana and southern family patterns and behaviour, to satisfying effect. Ozpetek is back in familiar territory, with family/friends contrasts again his subject of choice after films such as Ignorant Fairies and Saturn in Opposition. And as in those films, the dinner table is again the focus of attention.
The Turkish-born director explained: “My view of the family is a traditional one and especially in this film I felt very strongly about the presence and power of the relationship between a father, mother and children. At the same time, I also wanted to consider the families of friends and all of those strong relationships that go beyond family ties.”
Though the film’s set-up may sound like typical comedy conceit, it was actually inspired by true events, according to the director: “I began with an idea about something that actually happened to a friend of mine. It started off with a confession-revelation between two brothers, an event that almost destroyed my friend. Then I wrote the screenplay with Ivan Cotroneo. While filming in Apulia, we made various modifications and did some rewriting.”
The film will be released by 01 Distribution in Italy on March 12.