A noir as tough as concrete
by Gabriele Barcaro
03/10/2007 - Expectations are high – even Venice festival director Marco Muller wanted it this year, but the film was not yet ready – for Cemento armato [trailer] (“Reinforced Concrete”), the feature debut by Marco Martani, the successful screenwriter (with Fausto Brizzi) of numerous Christmas hits produced by Aurelio De Laurentiis as well as Night Before Exams [trailer] and Night Before Exams: Today [trailer], both produced by I.I.F
The films is a change in tenor for Martani with respect to the lightness of his previous work, as well as for producers Federica and Fulvio Lucisano, who are diversifying their slate with Cemento armato, here turning to noir after several teen comedies.
Set in a Rome stripped of all beauty, Martani’s directorial debut is the story of intersecting manhunts. As a construction boss and drug trafficker (Giorgio Faletti) tries to track down Diego (Nicolas Vaporidis) for having broken the side view mirror of his new car, the latter tries to find the men who raped his girlfriend (Carolina Crescentini). The action culminates in a surprise ending that is both cathartic and desperate.
The director, who wrote the script with Brizzi and first-time screenwriter Luca Poldelmengo, says the film marks a return “to an ensemble structure previously experimented with in Night Before Exams, and which may be reminiscent of Guy Ritchie’s films, but without the Snatch director’s grotesque tones and with an eye more towards Hong Kong action movies”.
It is genre cinema, which in Italy is made less and less, “though not an imitation of American products”, according to Martani, and features a cast that has already worked together: in the first Night Before Exams Faletti played the nightmare teacher of Vaporidis, who in the sequel loses his head over Crescentini.
“Shooting with the same team,” said Vaporidis, “gives you a sense of protection and solidarity, especially in the most difficult moments, during the most intense scenes”.
On release October 5, produced by I.I.F. with RAI Cinema and distributed by 01 Distribution on 320 screens, the film confirms the vitality of the “Lucisano factory”, already in production with Questa notte è ancora nostra (“This Night is Still Ours”) by Paolo Genovese and Luca Miniero and ready for other projects.
“Brizzi is writing a romantic comedy,” says Federica Lucisano, “we have optioned the rights to Piero Degli Antoni’s novel La notte di Peter Pan with Martani and are considering adapting Massimiliano Bruno’s play Zero for the screen”.
(Translated from Italian)