La prima cosa bella, The First beautiful Thing.

by Marianne Wi

Director : Paolo Virzi at his very best, known outside Italy for Catarina va in citta, Catarina in the Big City and My Name is Tanino. When introducing Catarina in the Big City at the London Film Festival , he took his daughter on stage and thanked her for her help, we were promised a Q & A after the showing but alas Mr. Virzi did not come back for it and we sat all 150 members of the paying public waiting………. I am surprised to find this film as the Italian entry to this years Oscar for Best Foreign Film

, however it is a very warm wossy film, it effortlessly moves between 1971 and the present . The wonderful Ramazzotti as the young Anna and the equally wonderful Sandrelli playing the older and dying Anna are both acting superbly.  Will be watching on the 25th January 2011 to see if it is accepted by the Academy. The film won Mastandrea and Ramazzotti a David Donatello best actor/actress award 2010, well deserved.

Cast : Valerio Mastandrea, Micaela Ramazzotti, Stefania Sandrelli, Claudia Pandolfi, Marco Messeri, Fabrizia Sacchi, Sergio Albelli, Isabella Cecchi, Dario Ballantini ,Paolo Ruffini and Emanuele Barresi.

Best Moment: So many lovely moments to pick from….When Valerio danced with a dying mother before confronting a  group of laughing teenagers, being the first moment  Valerio showed real love for his mother. I also loved Anna on her death-bed singing with her children and commenting  ” What a life bimbi belli, we had fun my babies didn’t we ? “

Moment I could have done without : No film is that good right ?  I just cannot think of any right at this moment.

La prima cosa bella, well known song in Italy in 1970 song by Nicola di Bari

La prima cosa bella song by Nicola di Bari

Synopsis: Bruno (Valerio Mastandrea) a weak man with a tendency to dabble in mild illegal substances,  reluctantly  dragged back to his home town to deal with his dying mother (Sandrelli) by his sister. The film shifts effortlessly between 1971 and 2009, starting with the young Anna (played with great sensitivity by Ramazzotti) being voted Mum of the year, much to the horror of the young Bruno and the delight of her daughter. The violent husband is supported brilliantly by the angry little boy, the interaction between this young family is a delight to watch, Anna’s continual struggle though the early years keeping any unpleasantness away from the children is heart-warming. You are treated to great comedy and drama throughout this  delightful and touching  film. I think Virzi’s best films so far.

Already out on DVD with English subtitles.

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