Ciliegine: Laura Morante’s directing debut, somewhere between Allen and the Peanuts
by Vittoria Scarpa
12/04/2012 - "In Italy they say it’s very French. In France they say it’s very Italian. Basically it’s a UFO". That is how yesterday in Rome Laura Morante presented her first film as a director, Ciliegine [trailer], in which she has a part as well as being its screenwriter and producer. A romantic comedy set in Paris (produced by Maison de Cinéma e Soudaine Compagnie) which plays on misunderstandings, throughout which runs a playful humour, with very ‘Allenesque’ dialogues and moods (reinforced by the great swing music composed by Nicola Piovani) and whose plot unfolds according to "recreational psychoanalysis" and "adventurous therapies", as defined by the main characters themselves.
Amanda (Laura Morante) looks on men with suspicion, regards them as irremediably unreliable, arrogant and selfish. When she meets Antoine (Pascal Elbé), she becomes a different person: sweet, gentle, easy-going. There is only one reason for this: she thinks Antoine is gay, and therefore innocuous. Her friends Florence (Isabelle Carré) and Hubert (Patrice Thibaud), the latter a psychotherapist, decide to keep the misunderstanding going, in an extreme attempt to help Amanda to get over her androphobia.
"The film starts from an emblematic scene", the new director explains. "A man, with no regard for the girl with whom he is having dinner, takes the only cherry from on top of the cake that’s on the table". For Amanda, this will be reason enough to break up. "I wanted to make a film about a woman who has a disproportionate reaction to a something that is, in itself, of little significance. The world is full of women who complain about men’s disregard. However, there is no bitterness, criticism or detachment in Ciliegine: "Mine is a fond parody of sentimental comedies", explains Morante, "I was inspired by the Peanuts, their innocent and disenchanted world. Amanda is reminiscent of Lucy, at times unbearable, but likeable". And in that sense, the beautiful actress did not hesitate to reproduce certain clichés of romantic happiness: walks in the park, cherry-tree petals blowing in the wind, fire crackling in the fireplace. A nostalgia of romantic illusions which risked slipping into the implausible (still brave of Morante, no longer that young, to make herself the lead character in such a romantic film) and which instead create good-humoured empathy.
Ciliegine will be in 50 Italian cinemas from April 13, distributed by Bolero. It will be released in France on May 2.
(Translated from Italian)