A Freudian Toni Servillo in Let Yourself Go!
by Camillo De Marco
- Out today in Italian theatres, Francesco Amato’s comedy sees the Neapolitan actor playing the role of a rigid psychoanalyst who winds up in trouble
Toni Servillo in a comic role? Yes it is possible, and happens in Lasciati andare [+see also:
film profile] by Francesco Amato (Cosimo and Nicole [+see also:
film profile]), in theatres as of today with 01 Distribution. With a beard and glasses à la Sigmund Freud, Servillo plays a psychoanalyst who lives and works in the Roman ghetto, a beautiful neighbourhood in the historic city centre which is rarely used in films. Separated from his wife Giovanna (played by a Carla Signoris on top form) – but with a very thin wall separating their respective bedrooms – Dr. Elia Venezia lives a methodical and rather self-centered existence, livened up only by the weirdness of some of his clients, until one day his blood sugar levels force him to go to the doctor, who tells him to shape up fast, putting him on a diet and subscribing exercise. And then who should come bounding into this hieratic psychotherapist’s office but a zesty Spanish personal trainer by the name of Claudia (Veronica Echegui), who drags him into a swirling vortex of mishaps that breathe life back into this man’s suffocated life.
The references to films by Woody Allen seem obvious, but young documentary maker turned fictional filmmaker Francesco Amato manages to find his own Italian way to Jewish Comedy, expanding the field of reference not only to the Marx and Coen brothers, Mel Brooks and sophisticated writers of the likes of Lubitsch, but to Italian comedy of once upon a time as well. And that is no mean feat for a director and two screenwriters (Francesco Bruni and Davide Lantieri) who are themselves shiksa (not Jewish).
The film takes a few minutes to warm up, with a few overly cold and intellectual jokes, after which Servillo and the others start to win over the audience, ending up in pure slapstick mode with the entrance on the scene of Luca Marinelli (the bad guy from They Call Me Jeeg [+see also:
interview: Gabriele Mainetti
film profile]). His character, a low-life robber who has escaped from prison to recover his spoils and turns to the psychoanalyst to have himself hypnotised so that he can remember where he buried the jewels, is a well-executed tribute to Vittorio Gassman’s stammering thief in Soliti ignoti (1958).
From the choice of cast to the meticulous work on the script, from the direction to the excellent photography by Vladan Radovic, Lasciati andare is an example of how a production company like Cattleya (Gomorra, the TV series) is capable of putting together a film that can work both in Italy and abroad. For the record, RAI Com has already sold Lasciati andare in Israel.
(Translated from Italian)