Figli delle stelle a comedy about unlikely revolutionaries
by Camillo de Marco
18/10/2010 - There is nothing more terribly démodé than the idea of kidnapping a politician. But tell that to the dazed and confused men of Figli delle stelle [trailer] (“Children of the Stars”), the fourth feature film by Lucio Pellegrini, on release October 22 on 250 screens through Warner Bros Italia.
An socially inept dockworker (Fabio Volo), an unemployed 30-year-old teacher who works flipping pizzas (Piefrancesco Favino), a college professor nostalgic for the Marxist revolution (Giuseppe Battiston) and a man without a past who’s just been released from prison (Paolo Sassanelli) decide to kidnap a political minister and use the ransom money to compensate the family of a victim of an on-the-job accident.
Motivated by disappointment, bitterness, rage, and the winds of anti-politics, they are also supremely clumsy. And, along with a journalist (Claudia Pandolfi) they involve in their scheme, they mistakenly grab an anonymous vice-minister (Giorgio Tirabassi) who turns out to be the only honest politician around.
"We began with an observation of society, to create a comedy deeply anchored in an increasingly conflictual reality", said the director, whose third film, Ora o Mai Più, was about the tragic events of the Genoa G8 summit of 2001. Indeed, Figli delle stelle is a comedy that plays with a real Italian past made up of political kidnappings and murders, and which a while ago would have sparked controversy. But the characters of this ensemble and empathetic film are simply dreamers united by their discontent and alienation, and its political and social drift are presented with a light touch.
"Today, people find it increasingly more difficult to believe in politicians, and screenwriters Francesco Cenni and Michele Pellegrini and I forced ourselves to depict how we really are, through a story that borders on the surreal and over-the-top," added Pellegrini.
Sharp dialogue, dynamic directing and comedy model based on Mario Monicelli’s superb Big Deal of Madonna Street make up a film that shows is sufficiently wicked in presenting the hypocritical and amoral side to common folks, as well the cynicism of politics. To the point where the kidnappers and politicians ultimately realize how much they resemble one another.
The link between reality and spectacle comes in the form of a cameo by journalist-writer Fabrizio Rondolino in the role of the minister. An advisor to former Communist prime minister of Italy Massimo D'Alema, from 1996-98, Rondolino then served as special consultant for communications on the first Italian edition of the television reality show Big Brother.
(Translated from Italian)