Viva l'Italia: Italy’s impolicies according to Massimiliano Bruno
- In his second film in the director’s seat, the man behind Nessuno mi può giudicareexposes the vulgarity of Italy’s ruling class. Coming out on October 25 with 01 Distribution
“We need to make comedies, and I am not talking about the little comedies we have seen in the past twenty years.”
This, from the screenwriter of light-hearted films such as Notte prima degli esami [+see also:
film profile] and Women Vs Men [+see also:
film profile]. The sentence seems to signal a drastic turn for Massimiliano Bruno (author of box office giant Escort in Love [+see also:
film profile]), who, while directing his second film Viva l'Italia [+see also:
film profile], opted to tackle serious matter, albeit with a sense of humour.
“My shift in genre goes back to a tradition in Italian cinema, which gave us films like The Great War andThe Easy Life", Bruno said during the film’s launch in Rome. “Comedy should be able to tell the story of this country’s vulgarity and its ruling class. Not speaking about it would be apathetic.”
The film’s starting point is nothing short of captivating. Michele Spagnolo (Michele Placido), a corrupt senator has a stroke while in bed with a showgirl whose television career he has promised to help. He is hit in the part of his brain that controls inhibitions, leading him to start telling the truth about everything and everyone around him, eventually becoming a loose cannon for himself, his family and his party.
His three children rush to be by his side. Valerio (Alessandro Gassman), is a ne’er-do-well who only has a job thanks to his father and Susanna (Ambra Angiolini) is a small time actress who survives on good connections rather than talent, meanwhile Riccardo (Raoul Bova, who previously starred in Escort in Love) is an honest and socially engaged doctor who hasn’t spoken to his father in years. Each character will come face to face with themselves and undergo changes. Not one of them will come out on top.
Bruno’s film uses well-known themes in current Italian cinema: the plague of worthless but well-connected people (Some Say No [+see also:
film profile] by Giambattista Avellino), the brain drain and wasted talent (Workers by Lorenzo Vignolo, as well as Every Blessed Day [+see also:
interview: Luca Marinelli
film profile] by Paolo Virzì). Add to the melange, the portrait of an immoral and crude political elite who puts escort-filled parties and self-interest above everything else. Spectators are all too used to these types of messages though and there is a distinct sense of déjà vu.
But the film’s aim is slightly different. “The film speaks to young people, many of whom do not read the paper every day. The film’s message is that you need to be proactive, and not just speak up against the system in place. And in view of the upcoming elections, being well informed is important,” Bruno explained.
As to the bad timing on such a comedy, he admitted, “this should have been my first film, but things were complicated. And besides, over the course of the last two years, little has changed.”
(Translated from Italian)
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