Archive for ‘Art House’


L’Erede, The Heir

by Marianne Wi

Director : Michael Zampino, is an Italian who has worked for a number of years in Hollywood, at the Silver Pictures Company producers of Die Hard, The Matrix, V for Vendetta and many others. This is his first feature, shot in Italy (Marche),  he classified this film as a ”noir” leaving me a little perplexed as to what to expect, is it a horror ? no , a thriller ? no, a drama then? no, ok it is a noir. I saw it 2 days ago and have spent some time trying to dissect the experience; not just report my initial reaction.  Apart from the usual editing problems, abrupt change from scene to scene and some rather iffy camara work, ”Ohh there is a statue of a cat, I know, I will zoom in on it, wait a moment……. zoom” if only it had been a great big fat rabbit, it would have made sense. The film did not really do it for me, I was not scared, I was not frightened and I was not sitting in suspense on the edge of my seat either, I should have been as it had all the hallmarks of a good one of either of those three emotions. Man, scared for his life escapes on a dark rainy night in his car, down the road a tree has fallen stopping him in is tracks, he gets out in order to remove it, failing he returns to the house from which he has just escaped ?. There are other potential scary moments that fails, so what is missing ? ”Music” that’s what is missing! Scary, suspense, horror, sound effects something that will get me trembling in my boots. I remember the film Private directed by Savario Costanzo 2004, a masterpiece that should have and was suggested for The Academy Awards in 2005, it was rejected not because it was not pure Italian but because the actors spoke Hebrew, Arabic and English or was it because it portrayed a Palestinian Family and their struggle against the Israelis ? Whatever the reason ”Sound” kept me on the edge of my seat through-out even when nothing actually happened, I will go as far as to say it is up there among the top 3 Italian films of the last decade, a truly excellent film winning over 20 awards. L’erede, The Heir will not be winning many awards I am afraid unless they do something about the sound effects,  it is by no means a ”NO GO” there is some great acting from Guia Jelo and Alessandro Roja,  it just lacked that OMG, it had so much potential for.

Cast : Alessandro Novaro Rispi, Guia Jelo, Tresy Taddei Takimiri, Alessandro Roja, Arnaldo Taffi, Davide Lorino,  Lanfranco Santini , Marco Fabbri, Maria Sole Mansutti, Ottavio Marini

Synobsis : Bruno (Alessandro Novaro Rispi ) has inherited an old Villa in the Marche area from his father, he returns to the house to decide its faith; sell or restore. A family of onion farmers have settled in the grounds, taking over the stables and are using the house too as and when they feel like it. The head of the household Paula ( Guia Jelo) a woman with a mission, claims to have had an affair with his father resulting in 2 children, she wants the house at all cost and we follow the struggle to achieve that goal, no spoilers on this blog, suffice to say that there are many trials and tribulations before we are left with a sort of open ending.


Sorelle Mai, Sisters Mai

by Marianne Wi

Director: Marco Bellocchino, it is his first feature film and nothing more than a family affair featuring Elena Bellocchino, Letizia Bellocchino, Maria Luisa Bellocchino, Pier Giorgio Bellocchino. Ahhh no IMDB informs me that Marco Bellocchino has directed 37 films ? OK folks there are two Marco Bellocchinos, who do I report this imposter to ?

I was so looking forward to this film, Italy is currently going through its comic phase so a drama, a thriller even a romance would be cool. I had seen Sorelle Mai, Sisters Mai appearing at International Film Festivals so my expectations were right up there. I was thinking Vincere – Buongiorno,notte, Good Morning, Night  – Il registra di matrimoni, The Wedding Director – La balia , The Nanny- I pugni in tasca, Fist in the pocket , I had every reason to be just a bit over excited;  Bellocchino, you are messing with my head !

Cast :  Irene Baratta, Elena Bellocchino, Letizia Bellocchino, Maria Luisa Bellocchino, Pier Giorgio Bellocchino, Valentina Bardi, Anna Bianchi, Donatella Finocchiaro, Alba Rohrwacher, Gianni Schicchi.

The film was shot over a period of 10 years by students Bellocchio tought “film making” to in Bobbio a small town in the province of  Piacenz. Sorelle Mai, Sisters Mai has been shot in 6 fragments, 1999,  2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and last but not least  2008 which will explain the Bellocchino family’s heavy presents, not many actors would sign a 10 year contract.

Synobsis : Sara May (Donatella Finocchiaro) is a budding actress with few maternal instincts for her daughter Elena (Elena Bellocchino), she has left her in the family home in Bobbio, while she herself is pursuing a career in acting in Milan. Elena is being raised by her two aunts Letizia (Letzia Bellocchino) and Mariuccia (Maria Luisa Bellocchino) together with their grandson Giorgio (Pier Giorgio Bellocchio) who also plays a major part in her upbringing (ever so slightly uneasy about the sexual tension between the two). We follow Elena as she matures over the decade, which is the most interesting part of this film, Elenas acting is excellent throughout, cannot wait to see her in other films ; other characters appear and disappear without any explanation. The final scene was beautiful, we see Gianni Schicchi, dressed in a tuxedo emerging himself into a lake, while being filmed.

The plot line is weak and the lighting throughout had issues, many shots were out of focus and the black and white flashbacks did nothing but confuse, should have gone straight to DVD.


The family connection is as followes Letzia and Maria Luisa Bellocchino are Marco’s sisters in real life Elena and Giorgio are their children, a tallented famely.







Into Paradiso

by Marianne Wi

Director Paola Randi first feature film, I was really looking forward to the viewing online with, nothing like watching a film with your feet up and a nice glass vino, in fact I was watching it with my friend Erica, who is in her 80s, it was her first virtual cinema experience, the menu was Lasagne (not lasagna, home-made of course) some local vine from a farm near Milo, all finished of with a freshly baked Marmortorte.

Yes, ok I am just chatting avoiding the inevitable but necessary write-up of the film. I am struggling to find anything to ooze about. The film started with so much promise, interesting subject, multi-ethnic cultures in Naples, comedy, drama, romance,  sadness YES I watched the trailer and that is what I expected .

Best Moment : Alfonso’s leaving the TV on during the day in front of the mothers photo, she had died some months earlier.

Worst moment : Scenes with very loud music, that would often drown the spoken word. The music was a big issue for me throughout as I found it very very irritating and very very inappropriate on many occasion, to the point where me and my friend took to our imaginary horses and started a pretend  gallop.

Cast :Gianfelice Imparato, Saman Anthony, Eloma Ran Janz, Giovanni Ferreri,Peppe Servillo.

Synopsis : Alfonso is a scientist, who has  lost his job and his mother in a short space of time, he is quiet and shy having spent most of his working life gazing at cells through a microscope and in the evenings watching soaps with his mother. His friend Giacinta a small time politician in Naples, drags him into the usual Gomorrah escapades. Arrives Gayan  a former Sri Lankan cricket champion, penniless as can only be expected, looking for milk and honey. They find themselves in a roof shack put up illegally on top of a building in the  city centre of Naples Sri Lankan district. I am weaving my right to remain silent now by claiming that anything else I say might have me accused of  Spoiler Alert infringements.

The film has received good reviews in Italy and a standing ovation at the 67th Venice Film Festival….I blame alcohol and/or drugs for such an uncalled behavior.

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