The Italian cinema had been a synonim with a mirror like litmus papaer for life of its country.
Of course the Neorealism, and the Sixties marvellous film directors who kept the legacy, the new directors of the 70’s-90’s, did their bid.
But the Italian cinema suffred many setbacks. It was mainkly the stagnation, trhe TV was of course another blow, which dealt a near mortal blow for the Italian Cinema.
After years of mediocrity, the Italian cinema returns. Matteo Garrone’s”Reality” is a prime example of it.
It’s also a very trump argument, why I don’t watch reality shows , Hebrew or otherwise.
I really feel sorry for all the celebs and wannabees, who pathetically wish to exploit either their faded or about to be faded popularity, or wish to be somebody. Why?
I don’t really know, since I never wanted to be somebody, well not that kind.
Lucianno and Maria are engaging Napolitanian couple, he’s a fishmonger who double its income on the side by selling robots (“Pasta Robotinos”), and also appear as a drag queen in weddings.
It’s in the process of one of the weddings, that Enzio a Relity star()117 days in the Big Brother’s Italian version), a sleezeball, which appear and recycle its image, as do all the Reality refugees across the world(Israel is blessed with that kind of phenomena, too blessed by my account!) En zo’ is very popular among the children, who urge their dad to appear at the Big Briothers audition in Napoli, unexpectedly, he’s invited to the next audition in Rome.
Here, at the Cinecitta, once Mussolini’s pipe dream of a Hollywood on the tiberius, than a center of a thriving Italian industry, and now a home of endless Big Brother, and other Shitty shows, which the Italian TV, somewhat expert in promoting and manufacturing, we see the line of hundreds of people, including Lucianno, who believe that the miracle will come and he’d be one of the inhabitants. this is the movie’s nadir-at both funny, horrifying, sad and pathetic. One reminds himself the line of stage mothers in Visconti’s “Bellissima”.
But, alas, poor Lucianno isn’t, he’s sinking to a world of hallucinations, more and more he’s convinced that the big brother watch his moves. So he’s doing all he can, charity? Why not? Her’dgive all his belongings, he sells his stall, and even a poor grasshopper, is a sign that all will be well.
The saddest fact, that his wife Mary hurls at him’ that he’s forgotten, and that Rome and the Big Brother don’t even look at his direction( A much more vulgar expression crossed my mnd, is more accurate, figure which!).
The solution comes from Michele, his former partner-the religion. Is it?
In the final sequence, Lucianno reverts back to the”Big Brother”‘s set, that’s the religion, as he inflitrates to the set, he’s finally seen reclining on the sofa, collapse in a helpless laugh, at what? Himself?, his new found religion? It’s an unanswered questions, and it’s good, not all films can close the loopholes and the loose ends, at lest in that kind of story.As the camera veers away from him, till he becomes a spot inside a hugh set, which is part and parcel of Cinecitta and Rome, we’re leaving the theater(I leave at least) with a hint of sadness and a cautious optimist.
Garrone, in this film and the excellent thriller”Gommorah”, establish himself as a varied director, you can’t pin it (As Pascalle Inannone valliantly tried to do at his Sight and Sounds’ June 2013 review), he’s both a Giermi and De-Sica, Scola and De-Santis, Visconti and Monicelli, Steno and Pasollini, he’s everyone and he’s his own voice.
The acting is great, all actors are unknown, Annielo Arenna is a marvel to watch, one can think of Tot, the exquisite Napolitanian Comic, his face convey every gamiut known to a man, according to Ha’Aretz interview with the director the man is a prisoner, who is on rehab stage, and appear on TV and theater, this is his first work on film, and he’s literally insinuated himself into my heart, I totally root and sorry for him.
Lorenda Simiolli’s Marie is a wander, so far she was only on three features, but my God, what a face, and what an actress. She’s not that pretty, but the scene in which she explodes at her husband, fighting to get a chair back, walking next to the stall, which once was his, are so potent, that I ‘m really put them as a classics.
So wht’s my verdict? “Reality” is great, it’s a wander to watch, Alexander Desplante’s music is superb, Marco Onorto’s cinemascopic lensing is a joy to watch, note the beginning of the film’s to its power, and his shadows and lighting playful talent, and it’s a very optimistic path to the battered Italian film industry, who, like the legendary Pohenix comes back from the ashes!