Rome from a night bus
by Daniela Palermo
10/05/2007 - Simultaneously a noir and a romantic comedy, an action film and a thriller with moments of pulp, Davide Marengo’s Notturno bus [trailer] (lit. “Night Bus”), based on the eponymous novel by Giampiero Rigosi, is a true mix of genres “all’italiana”.
"We played with the genres,” said the director at the film’s press screening, “mixing together romance, action, noir and comedy. It was hard to maintain the right balance but the book helped us a lot”.
Produced by Maura Vespini and Sandro Silvestri for Emme, in collaboration with RAI Cinema, co-produced by Poland’s Vision Film and on 150 screens as of tomorrow through 01, the film tells the story of Leila (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), a beautiful thief and chronic liar, and Franz (Valerio Mastrandrea), a bus driver obsessed with poker, who meet when Leila is in serious trouble, involved in a situation far bigger than her. The backdrop is Rome by night, less romantic than usual.
“We had a lot of trouble finding the director for this story,” said Silvestri, “as a result of the bad habit, which is very Italian, of directors who are also auteurs refusing to work on commission”. Yet according to the actors (the cast also features Ennio Fantastichini, Antonio Catania and Iaia Forte), the choice of Marengo was on the mark. “I knew his work,” said Mezzogiorno, “and I knew that his directing style fit perfectly with this kind of film: action, movement, quick editing. He has a great sense of comedy and suggestion, both emotional and visual”.
The film marks Marengo’s feature debut, following the multiple award-winning experimental documentary Craj (starring Teresa de Sio and the former front-man of the historical band CSI, Giovanni Lindo Ferretti) and numerous hit music videos such as “La Paranza” and “Mi Persi” by Daniele Silvestri, both songs which feature on the soundtrack.
(Translated from Italian)