Archive for ‘Comedy’


Senza arte né parte, Make a Fake

by Marianne Wi

Director : Giovanni Albanese, this is his second feature, if you have a memory of an elephant you might remember him from his first feature AAAAchille starring Sergio Rubini, Helene Sevaux, Paolo Bonacelli and Loris Pazienza. I recall this film from 2003 as it had a great story line and some good solid acting. I am not an Italian comedy fan however as comedies go Senza arte né parte, Make a Fake was not bad, it did rather drag at the end though, however we were treated to the beautiful countryside that is Lecce and great use of music.

Cast : Giuseppe Battiston, Giulio Beranek, Mariolina De Fano, Daniele Esposito, Donatella Finocchiaro, Ernesto Mahieux, Vincenzo Salemme, Paolo Sassanelli, Hassani Shapi .

Synobsis : Three production workers at a pasta factory have been made redundant, Carmine (Giuseppe Battiston), Enzo (Vincenzo Salemme) and Bandula  (Hassani Shapi) find themselves replaced by machines.  I particularly loved the scene, where the three take revenge on the equipment to the tune of Johann Strauss and his Vienna Waltz, it was truly hilarious, best moment of the film and we discover how Bandula always managed to be first on the job each morning, classic. The three are re-employed in a job sharing scheme by Alfonso Tammaro (Paolo Sassanelli) who was responsible for their redundancy, he now takes them on in typical south Italian fasion…..”Three for the price of one” working as security guards, guarding art works. With the help of Carmine’s younger brother (Giulio Beranek) they start to reproduce the works of art, making a lot of money, of course, this must end in tears and it should, we should never promote fraud, no matter how stilly the plotline developes. There are a lot of Southern humour during the film, theft of a whole olive tree being funny but also sadly true among others. How will our gang of three get on in Rome at the big art gallery ? Will we have a happy ending ?


Se sei cosi ti dico si, If You are like That, I say Yes (poss. English title)

by Marianne Wi

There are no reason to believe this film will get any International interest, however I have said that before and found that the film went on to have great success at International Film Festivals.

Director : Eugenio Cappuccio has acted, written screenplays and already directed a number of films : Volevo solo dormirele addosso 2004  shown in San Francisco in 2005, there are no sign of an English title though and I think “I only wanted to sleep on top of her” directly translated sounds like an unlikely title – Uno su due , One Out of  Two 2007 .

Cast : Emilio Solfrizzi, Belen Rodriquez, Iaia Forte, Roberto de Francesco, Toto Onis, Salvatore Marino, Pinuccio Sinisi, Eleonora Albrecht, Manuele Morabito, Francesca Faiella, Azzurra Martino

Synobsis :  Lets set the scene then for this light comedy, we find Piero Cicala (Emilio Solfrizzi) who was a one hit wonder in the 80s with the song  “Io, te e il mare ” ” Me you and the Sea” , it sold millions and he had a tasted fame. Cicala lives in a small village in Puglia and spends his time as a waiter in a restaurant named King Octopus owned by his now ex-wife Marta (Iaia Forte), often hanging out with his close friend Gianni (Toto Onnis) a Barber who was a musician, now often found speaking to the octopus, odd I think you will agree but we all remember the very clever Spanish Octopus Paul, who correctly predicted the results of 7 World Cup Football matches last year, so who are we to snicker.

Out of the blue arrive Emissario (Fabrizio Buompastore) with a proposal to participate in a TV show called “The Best Years”  at first reluctant, should he or should he not ? Cicala relents in the end lured by the smell of fame and the prommise of a visit to Rome entices him into action. In the Hotel Cicala meets the world famous Cortes Talita (Belen Rodreques) who is in Rome launching a new product, the eyes of the world is on her and for reasons not known her eyes are on Cicala, well perhaps too many alcoholic drinks was to blame.

Talita declares to the world press that Cicala is her new boyfriend and they take off in a private jet heading to the US of A, where his singing unlike at home is greeted with great enthusiasm.

The film is very well shot, worth watching just for that reason alone and it is a nice enough watch on a rainy afternoon, Belen; I wish to God her forehead would move so that her painted on eyebrows looked less fake, we need a law banning Botox and acting ever being shown on the same screen.


Basilicata coast to coast

by Marianne Wi

Basilicata coast to coast, was released in Italy April 2010, it is very much a Musical Comedy nothing really to blog home about, I never imagined it would travel Internationaly. Well, it keeps hitting on the International/Italian Film Festivals around the world and now for no good reason at all it has been nominated for 6 David di Donatello 2011 awards, the nominations are as followes : Best Film – Best Director (Newcomer) Rocco Papaleo – Best Screenplay, Rocco Papaleo e Valter Lupo – Best Supporting Actress Claudia Potenza – Best Mucial Score Rita Marcotulli and Rocco Papale wishing everyone Gods speed and good luck.

It is a great advert and excellent publicity for Basilicata a region in southern Italy not often mentioned anywhere. The film starts with “Do you believe in Basilicata”  as in has anyone heard of it, well after this you will know it all. The film is a panoramic feast of southern Italy that goes beyond the usual tourist tracks it is a ” Must See” for that reason alone, everyone should visit more than once. Then of course we have Piatti Tipici, do not get me started on those, you never feel like you have been taken for a guided tour though, that is impressive. Music too is in abundance, if you like Jazz, Swing and a bit of the other you will be loving this germ, written specifically for the backdrop of Basilicata’s canyons, dirt roads and barren landscape.

Director : Rocco Papaleo, it is his first feature as a Director, he is well known in Italy as an actor having precipitated in 44 films, he is as I mentioned up for Best Newcomer as a director, so the board of David di Donatella liked what they saw.

Cast : Alessandro Gassman, Paolo Briguglia, Max Gazze, Rocco Papaleo, Giovanni Mezzogiorno, Claudia Potenza, Michela Andreozzi,Antonio Gerardi.


Synopsis : We follow a group of four musicians, on route to a Music Festival on the eastern coast of Basilicata, it could be reached by car in 2 hours however it is decided to use this trip as an opportunity for male bonding and an exercise for the group in economic restraint. They are joint by a sour and unpleasant journalist (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) whose job it is to chronicle this anachronism. They set off with a horse and cart full of their instruments, leaving behind all mod cons. There are many funny encounters with the locals on the way, never patronizing I am glad to say and we are treated to a budding romance too along the road. Is there such a thing as a “Musical Road Movie” ? Well there is now and having just seen it again, I am loving it just that little bit more.
Shame that the forehead  of Giovanni Mezzogiorno never seem to move, Botox a step too far.

Manuale d’amore 3, 3 Stages of Love (Manual of Love 3)

by Marianne Wi

I love the trailer, they have included all the really funny moments, no need to leave the comfort of your own home to see the film.

It has been hyped here in Italy as the “Comedy of the year” and much fuss has been made over it. It was released Friday and I am still trying to muster some enthusiasm and blog a few lines ….. I loved Manaule D’amore, Manual of Love when it came out in 2005, it was funny, great actors, believable story lines and the music was fabulous too, I can hum the tune for you right now. On the odd occasion I still find myself reaching for the DVD on a cold rainy Sunday afternoon.

Manuale d’amore 2, Manual of Love 2 came and went I cannot actually remember anything about it not a single frame comes to mind.

Manuale d’amore 3, Manual of Love 3, is as Italian comedies go not a bad movie, I was just bored and would have hot footed it out of there at the interval had they not left Robert de Niro until last, one nill to the clever producer.

Director:   Giovanni Veronesi a prolific Director and screenwriter.Manuale d’amore 1, 2 and 3 together with Me and Marilyn, Italians and Parents and their children.

Cast : Robert de Niro, Monica Bellucci, Riccardo Scamarcio, Michele Placido, Laura Chiatti,Valeria Solarino, Donnatella Finocchiaro, Carlo Verdone, Daniele Pecci,Vincenzo Alfieri

Synobsis : The film has 3 acts ……….

Youth : Riccardo Scamarcio  and Laura Chiatti story…. he goes up north on a business trip, has an affair with another woman (lets not confuse this with Mine Vaganti,Loose Cannons, that would be wrong) usual story, usual mediocre acting from both of them, I am sure I have seen this story many times before with both actors in it too.

Maturity : Carlo Verdone has great comic timing and the sexy Donatella Finocchiaro is equally funny, great acting  from both of them. Carlo Verdone plays a self-absorbed Ankerman, she plays a professional stalker, not believable and too much silliness packed into one short story, it had the potential  of being the best story of the tree acts.

Late middleage : Robert de Niro speaking Italian throughout (sounded great actually, top marks to him for trying) falls in love with the daughter of a Porter in Rome. Enter Monica Berluccio , God love her ,  a sad sight to see the once so beautiful actress Botoxed to point of freeze frame, STOP it is all I want to say to this lady, she plays a stripper , not quite the story of  An Officer and a Gentleman though, it was just another predictable  story, end of !

I am going off in search of a Drama or a Thriller now…… Ohhh yes, there must be one out there somewhere.


18 anni dopo, 18 Years Later

by Marianne Wi

18 anni dopo, 18 Years Later, is a charming Road movie well worth watching, when it appears at a festival near you , it is currently doing very well abroad and have been included in numerous International Film Festivals .It will be in competition in Fantasporto 2011 in Portugal later this month, together with Hayfever, Febbre da fieno. The film is another comedy , Italy is turning them out at the moment , I am on my knees praying that at least one thriller, Drama even a romantic film will emerge among this years offerings, without any trace of comedy

Director : Edorado Leo , is well known in his native Italy for his many roles in TV series as an actor, this is his second attempt at a feature film, it has as yet not been released nationwide so lets hope that the amount of attention it gets outside Italy will be enough to get it distributed here too.

Cast : Marco Bonini, Edorado Leo, Sabrina Impacciatore, Eugenia Costantini,Gabriele Ferzetti

Best moment :  The two brothers interaction with the local Calabrese is a joy to watch.

Synobsis : We follow two brothers on the road in a restored convertiable Morgan, traveling towards Calabria and theire dead fathers hometown, where they must deliver his ashes.

Genziano (Marco Bonini) and Mirko ( Edoardo Leo) have not spoken for 18 years after falling out over an incident involving their mother, Genziano went off to London, where he excelled and became a successful businessman, while Mirko remained working with his father’s car business.

We follow the pair as they drive towards Calabria ,often meeting up with a mysterious hitchhiker, the gorgeous and tallented Mirella ( Sabrina Impacciatore) who appear when least expected. The stunning landscape and great cinematography make this such an easy film to watch. Many secrets are reveled on rute and a touching final is awaiting you .


Gianni e le donne, The salt of life

by Marianne Wi

Ah, finally a comedy that does not make you want to run for the hills or rather escape into the chaos that is Catania on a Saturday night. If you loved Pranzo di farragosto, Mid August Lunch you will love this  feel good comedy, brilliantly directed by Gianni Di Gregorio ,who play the part of Gianni with that same ease and flair as he did  Gianni in Mid August Lunch. Valeria De Franciscis has returned to play his mother although in a different role all together, they really are an awesome combination.

Director : Gianni Di Gregorio, is known for his many screenplays and have only recently been seen on-screen himself. He was involved with Roberto Saviano in writing the screenplay for Gomorra , he wrote the screenplays, directed and also starred in  Mid August Lunch and The salt of life.

Best Moment : Any scenes with his mother are good moments, the relationship between the two is fabulous. Yoga scene, I know I am going to have a try tomorrow morning myself in front of the Faglioni.

Trailer : Yes I have added the trailer to this blog, it does not do this film justice in fact it makes it look like just another lightweight and mindless Italian comedy, trust me this film is much more than that. May the editor of this video be made to do penance for many hours.

Poster : Just ignore it is my advise !

Synopsis : Gianni a 60-year-old retired Roman, lives with his wife, daughter and her unemployed very lazy boyfriend in a  flat in Rome. Gianni has only recently retired and find himself helping his demanding mother, who lives on the other side of Rome, walking the neighbours dogs, doing odd jobs for anyone who asks, including taking orders from his wife.

One day Gianni’s friend Alfonso, boast about a recent sexual encounter and Gianni’s world begin to change as he realise that he is the only one without a bit on the side, even the old chap in the track suit at the Bar is at it; Gianni set about changing his life .

The scenes that follows are touching with great comic timing, it is hard not to love this wonderful warm often confused man (It helps not being married to Gianni) his dreams however strongly wished for, remain just that…. dreams, as we all know they do not always reach fulfilment. Gianni never let us lose the sense of familiar intimacy  during the film  a big factor in making  this and Mid August Lunch such a great success not only in Italy, it  is still appearing in Film Festivals around the world.


Immaturi, The Juveniles (Possible English Title)

by Marianne Wi

Well, sometimes you just have to rejoice in the fact that you can be wrong. I was not looking forward to this afternoons film, the trailer filled me with dread and I did wonder why this film had not been release at Xmas…… BUT Wooo I really enjoyed it despite myself, it was fun ,easy-going , music lovely, screenplay just right, editing smooth and the scenes were just …….. Immaturi, The Juveniles were just what you needed on a rainy afternoon , all warm and wossy from the beginning to the end, hot cioccolate and slippers..

Director :  Paolo Genovese , is riding high here in Italy at the moment a bit of a Golden Goose right now, he had this years Santa number one ,with an enormous turnover La Banda dei babbi natale. I did not see it, I am just too fragile to watch Santa films, I might now look into seeing it  as I enjoyed Immaturi so much. I do not think Genovese is known outside Italy, although I am sure I saw Nessun messaggio in segreteria, Sorry you cannot get through  in the USA back in 2007. I will be surprised if it makes it across the Italian border , I do hope it does as I enjoyed it.

Cast : Isabelle Adriani, Ambra Angiolini, Luca Bizzarri,  Barbora Bobulova, Raoul Bova, Anita Caprioli, Paolo Kessisoglu, Ricky Memphis, Giulia Mechelini, Giovanna Ralli, Luisa Raineri, Daniela Virgilio.

Synopsis : A group of Thirty Somethings ,who have known each other for over 20 years, all receive a letter stating that their  exam has been disqualified and need to be re-sat , yes chaps re-sat after 10 years ( now perhaps you understand why I was not over joyed to see this film) Still, we follow this delightful group and each individual protagonist blossom and grow with such great insight and like the onion gets stronger as the layers are peeled away or does it get sweeter ? Yes, it is a bit of a girly movie, a wee bit cheesy even, what is wrong with that ? Great acting from everyone and I do love Ricky Memphis and his character “Italian cinema gold” The Mammone .


Qualunquemente, Whatsoeverly

by Marianne Wi

Director : Giulio Manfredinia, is known in Italy mainly for his work in TV. The Screenwriter and the main actor in this film is Antonio Albanese a household name in Italy.

This is Italian satire at its best and I enjoyed it immensely, well written, current and full of parallels with today’s political scene in Italy, it is unlikely to be seen outside Italy as humour as we know does not travel well.

Edit: I was wrong, so very wrong Qualunquemente, Whatsoeverly was shown at The Berlin Film Festival and was very well received, it is also shown at this years Italian Cinema London, I feel shame and I would not be at all surprised if it now turns up everywhere!

Cast:  Antonio Albernese, Sergio Rubini, Lorenza Indivina, Antonio Gerardi, Salvatore Cantalupo

Best moment :  Tax is like drugs, you try it once and you have to do it again and again.

Synopsis  : Marina di Sopra in Calabria is looking for a new Mayor and we follow the election campaign between De Santis and Cetto Whatever. De Santis does not stand a chance against Cetto Whatsoeverly who is vulgar, dishonest, corrupt, amoral to the point of  moving his South American lover and child into the marital home. Cetto Whatsoeverly is a proud man and does not refrain from using intimidation, paying for votes and other Mafia type actions , he will do what ever it takes, he will be Mayor. He eventually hires a spin doctor from the North to help with his campaign, who in true northern style rips him of. There are some very funny moments and  Albernese’s  portrayal of Cetto is as if it was written for him 😉


La bellezza del somaro, Love and Slaps

by Marianne Wi

Director : Sergio Castellitto, is a prolific director, actor and very well know in his native Italy, he has also had great success in the rest of the world, I am sure this film will make it onto the International Film Festival Scene. Castillitto has produced and/or acted in the following films among others: L’uomo delle stelle, The Star Maker, Caterina va in cita, Catarina goes to town, Non ti muovere, Don’t move, Il regista di matrimoni, The Wedding Director, Italians, Tris di donne & abiti nuziali, Bets & Wedding Dresses, Alza la testa, Raise Your Head. There are many more the above have been shown abroad and are all out on DVD.

Cast : Erika Blanc, Barbara Bobulova, Sergio Castellitto, Marco Giallini, Emmanuela Grimalda, Gianfelice Imarato, Enzo Jannacci, Renato Marchetti, Laura Morante.

Best Moment : Every scene with the Ass was a joy.

Worst Moment:  The realisation that the only protagonist in this film not having a relationship was the Ass.

Humour does not travel well from country to country, I avoid when possible all the cruise ship comedies together will all the Santa films flooding the Italian cinemas at Xmas, they never make it onto the international scene and rightly so they are not funny unless you are Italian. The Beauty of the Ass is one such film, I saw it as I hold Castellitto in high regard and there were little else in the cinema over the festive period. It was the most “silly” film I have seen in 2010, I was often having to cover my face in despair as one Italian candidature after another was played out in front of the audience, that said 3 ladies sitting behind me declared it the best film in 2010 , not knowing how many they have seen this may be irrelevant , however they positively loved it. Humour is a very very personal thing.

Synopsis: (SPOILER ALERT)  A bourgeois  Italian family living in Rome with their 2 children are going through a crises, the parents are middle age open-minded intellectuals or are they ?. The family sets off to Tuscany for a holiday with a group of old friends, where they are introduced to Amando and his Bonsai-tree, their daughters new love interest. There are every comedy scene from every Italian comedy you have ever seen forced into the next 107 minutes. There are some great acting and some funny scenes however too much all in one, a great opportunity to tackle the old Lolita subject in a thought provoking manner was missed by turning every shot into comedy. The film could only end in one way of course much to the relief of the paying public, when it was reveled that no sex nay a kiss between the two had taken place.

I do think it will show up at an International Film Festival apart for Castellitto himself  Barbara Bobulova and Laura Morante are all well know outside Italy.  A very small glass of Chianti would perhaps make this film easier to watch or as part of a cultural exchange learning about Italian humour.


Mine Vaganti, Loose Cannons

by Marianne Wi

I always look forward to Ferzan Ozpeteks films and never missed one, Mine Vaganti, Loose Cannons is another great film that did not disappoint, well worth seeing when it turns up at an  Italian Film Festival near you .

Director : Ferzan Ozpetek other works includes: Le fate Ignorante, The Ignorant Fairies – Il bagno Turco, Steam: The Turkish Bath – La finestra di Fronte, Facing the window and  Cuore Sacro, Sacred Heart.

Cast : Riccardo Scamarcio, Nicole Grimaudo, Alessandro Preziosi, Lunetta Savino,Ennio Fantastichini,Elena Sofia Ricci, Daniele Pecci.

Best moment: Father with photo album, crying his eyes out wondering where it all went wrong , the shame, the lack of grand children, the family’s reputation………

Moment I could have easily done without: Tommaso (Riccardo Scamarcio) dancing in-front of the mirror. Cannot imagine why it was included in the official trailer.

Synopsis:  Tommaso (Riccardo Scamarcio) who has been  living in Rome away from his family, have been able to live openly as a homosexual. His return to southern Italy and his large traditional family will as can only be expected, be problematic . Tommaso  is expected together with his older bother Antonio (Alessandro Preziosi) to take over the management of the families industrial pasta making business.

On the eve of a family dinner, during which Tommaso has decided to tell his family of his sexuality , their lives are thrown into chaos by his elder bother Antonio. There are excellent acting from the grand mother (Ilaria Occhini) and Luciana (Elena Sofia Ricci) it would have been great to see those characters developed. Ferzan Ozpeteks chosen subject  is as always homosexuality, a subject not often covered by mainstream Italian film makers, Italy is of course still very much a strong-hold for the Roman Catholic Church where homosexuality is not an accepted life-style (only last year two men kissing in front of the Colosseum in Rome, were arrested and charged with indecent behaviour).  Ozpetek covers this subject with such flare and sensitivity that even though I feel Ricardo Scammacio was wrongly cast as  Tommaso, he just never looked comfortable playing the role and the dancing in front of the mirror was painful to watch, you cannot help but warm to the individual protagonists as the film shifts from comedy to drama and visa versa . Is it a comedy or a drama……., a bit of both, I have come down on the side of comedy as there were so many sweet and very funny moments .

It is also out on DVD one not to be missed this year.

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