Posts tagged ‘drugs’


5 (Cinque)

by Marianne Wi

Director : It is Francesco Dominedo first feature, he has previously appeared in a number of TV films here in Italy, will this film be his opening onto the International Film Festival Circuit? That is the million dollar question, as Italian films goes it is not bad, the editing is good, the camara work is well above average, usually the two immediate obstacles for success. The story line ? Well, there are so many sub stories going down, that you will need to be on full alert throughout. Matteo Branciamore (Manolo) was seen for the first time outside The Cesarone, he has turned ”BAD”. Also very good acting from the other 4, known for their TV work, so why am I not excited? Dominedo has tried to compete with the American Gangster Movies and although he often hits the spot, he fails overall possibly because of a low budget, it was released into only 5 cinemas in Italy so has not had a good start in life.

Cast: Matteo Branciamore, Stefano Sammarco, Christian Marazziti, Rolando Ravello, Alessandro Borghi, Lito Vitale, Massimo Bonetti, Angelo Orlando, Giorgia Wurth, Franscesco Arca, Francesco Venditti, Cladua Zanella, Loredana sofizi, Alessandro Tersigni.

Synobsis:  We find our group of 5 in Quarticcilo east, a Roman suburb that lends itself perfectly to petty crime. Our 5 friends have all been to the same correction center or ”riformatorio” reformatory center, where they have served time for their senseless crimes. Our little group grow up, get married leading lives of petty crime until they decide to hit the big time with a large robbery… it worked and there was a bonus in the shape of a briefcase…… belonging the The Russian Mafia in Rome… is all very much downhill from there, as the 5 begin their fight for survival.


I baci mai dati, Lost Kisses

by Marianne Wi

Director : Roberta Torre is a great Italian female writer and director, who although Milanese by birth has adopted Sicily for many of her films. You will know her from Sud Side Story, South Side Story 2000 –  Angela 2002 –  Mare Nero, The Dark Sea 2006 all of which have seen great success at International Film Festivals. I baci mai dati, Lost Kisses is set in Librino, a poor crime ridden build up area of Catania, Sicily. It was originally named Miracoli a Catania, Miracles in Catania perhaps being re-named due to the double edge ending, it is a film about Saints or is it about Sinners, Torre leave it up to you to decide. The film was at the Venice Film Festival 2010 and is already doing very well at International Festivals, will the Sicilians take to it? I think not.

Cast : Piera Degli Esposti, Donatella Finocchino, Beppe Fiorello, Cala Marchese, Pino Micol, Valentina Giordanella, Martina Galletta, Alessio Vassallo, Tony Palazzo, Gabriella Saitta, Lucia Sardo

Synobsis : Manuela (Carla Marchese) is a 13 year old teenager living with her mother Rita (Donnatella Finocchino) and her drug taking/dealing sister (Valentina Giordanella) together with her on/off  father (Beppe Fiorello) who has left the family home after a heated debate about lack of food and money, making this a strong female household. Librino, very much an ordernary crime ridden spot, depressing and with little going for it untill the day a larger than life statue is delivered of the Madonna. While some teenagers are playing football in front of the Madonna they score a goal by hitting her head with the ball, bringing it crashing to the ground, they quickly hide the evidence in an old lock-up.

Manuela has a dream during a hot Sicilian night, where the Madonna speaks to her concerning her missing head and its whereabouts. Manuela becomes the talk of the town, and her mother and the priest are quick off the mark, setting up business, big business. Where there’s a Madonna crying, laughing or simply speaking to teenagers, there are big bucks to be made in Italy. Manuela sees her life change from cleaning in a surreal hair salon to full-time employment working shifts listening to people’s problems, grievances and their wish lists, one lady speaking on behalf of her boyfriend “I wish the Madonna would find a job for my boyfriend in a supermarket, doing the shift from 3 pm to 8pm ” Manuela is making big bucks for her mother and the church by heading the “Factory of Hope” team. The scene where the priest sorts though her wardrobe is hilarious turning this colourful teenager into a drap Saint, untill one day…….. Torre has left the ending up to the viewer, you belive or you don’t the ending will be based on your religious beliefs.


Il sesso aggiunto, Sex Added (Possible English Title)

by Marianne Wi

Director: This is Francesco Antonio Castaldo’s first feature, there is little to no information about him on the web right now except for his age 53 and the fact that he has two teenage children. Castaldo has now found the courage and money to direct this film based on his own experiences as a 25 year old, when he shared a flat with friends and a heroine addicted girlfriend. This film is not just about drugs it is a love story set in a 70s addicted ambience, less squalid than I would have expected, yes Alan steals from his mother, put his fist through her kitchen cupboard, has anger issues, has sex with a male drug dealer in exchange for drugs (a scene that will upset the good folk of Italy, already upset by an IKEA advert showing two men holding hands) he steals and he cheats too however on the whole this is about middle class addiction not dirty mattresses in dark drug dens. The casting of Giuseppe Zeno by Rita Forzano was an error that ruined the film for me, Zeno is a 35 year old actor cast in the role of Alan who must be early to mid 20s, he looks a very handsome 35 plus, making him too old next to his father and certainly much to old next to his little football playing brother, I originally thought his brother was his young son taken away from him due to addiction; another film perhaps?. The music was excellent as can be expected from Nicola Piovani, he wrote the score and won an Oscar for the music to La vita e bella, Life is beautiful directed by Roberto Benigni. The cinematography was great, the story solid, generally a good watch.

Cast: Giuseppe Zeno, Myriam Catania, Valentina D’Agostino, Cloris Brosca, Lino Guanciale, Gigi Savoia, Vlaerio Miduri

Synobsis: Alan (Giuseppe Zeno) is a drug addict who lives for his next fix, very much at the mercy of his own fragility, we follow him and his girlfriend Laura (Valentina D’Agostino) in a world of dependency and adiction, their daily routine, it is not just about drugs this is also a love story. We watch Alan’s relationship with a father (Gigi Savoia) who totally rejects him, Alan’s longing for contact with him is touching. We watch too the abusive relationship he has with his mother (Cloris Brosca) who by giving him cash to buy drugs “It will make you feel better” aids and abets his dependency, the relationship with drug dealers and close friends are all well told. Alan goes down the path of self-psychoanalysis trying to find himself, God, Love anything that will allow him to leave the dependency behind. A warning as Castaldo mentioned in an interview to young people about the dangers and sad life of any dependency.


Et in Terra Pax, And Peace on Earch

by Marianne Wi

Directed by  Matteo Botrugno, Daniele Coluccini

Cast : Maurizio Tesei, Ughetta D’Onorascenzo, Michele Botrugno, Fabio Gomiero, Germano Gentile, Simone Crisari, Riccardo Flammini .

Official synopsis : On the distant outskirts of Rome, crime and drugs tie several parallel stories together which gradually become one. The exchange of a moped for a bit of cocaine brings the plot into focus. Once the main characters meet, they will leave a trail of blood, fire and violence behind them.

Again sadly another film that is doing the rounds of International Film Festivals abroad, while still waiting for a release date  nationally here in Italy. It is tough being an Independent filmmaker,very tough sorry I keep repeating myself while I huff and I puff over missing such interesting films.



Paolo Sorrentino ‘This Must Be The Place’

by Marianne Wi

I am so excited , I understand that Paolo Sorrentino’s  next film is in post production , I have search but see no release dates… It is his very first film in English and I understand that after Sean Penn positively drooled over Sorrentino at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008, having  seen IL DIVO , Sorrentino hot footed it back to Italy to convince David Bryne to write the  screenplay for him with Sean Penn in mind .

In short the film is about a bored retired rock star living in Ireland ( Bono ? just jesting ), who decides to hunt down his fathers tormentor. Cheyenne (Sean Penn) is off to New York to see his dying father , alas too late ( word to the wise, do not leave stuff untill tomorrow if you can possibly do it today). Cheyenne goes off in search of the SS Officer  Aloise Lange an unpleasent fellow , it takes him on a long a painful journey across the US  of A .

The cast is  lacking in Italian actors, uhmmm Sorrentino not wise in my opinion , surely a place could have been found for a few famous countrymen ?

Music by Ennio Morricone  neanche , music by Talking Heads This must be the Place ( Naive Melody)



La scuola e finita, School is over.

by Marianne Wi

Director: Valerio Jalogo, well know in the UK for his documentary Di me cosa ne sai, What do you know about me, shown at the London Film Festival 2009. Jalogo also took part in a Q & A with special interest  in Italian cinema and the effect of multiplexes on the Italian Film industry, together with Domenico Procaci, Giuseppe Piccioni and Giorgio Diritti , they did an informative , heart warming  session all in English leaving  you feeling that there are some hope for the Italian Film Industry.

Cast:Vincenzo Amato, Cicilia Broggini, Luciano de Luca, Valeria Golino, Fulvio Forti and Marcello Mazzarella.

Best moment: A number of dialogues between Daria ( Valeria Golina) and Alex ( Fulvio Forti)

Moment I could have done without: Not so much moments, more too many moving camara shots lacking focus.

Synopsis: The film is shot in The Pestralozzi Institute in Rome, the much adored, bored teenage student Alex starts by taking a drug induced free fall from the 5th floor of the school , by surviving without a scratch becomes an idol for his peers all equally bored. The teachers have little control over their class,  also look bored and uninterested. Daria ( played exceptionally well by Valeria Golino) together with her ex-husband  Aldo ( Vincenzo Amato) that is I think they were married at some point, deduced from their continuous  bickering throughout the film, both in their own way try to influence Alex in a positive and constructive way . Alex finds escape through music , helped by  Aldo insuring the usual mayhem.

I am not sure how this film would fare outside Italy, it left me feeling quite depressed and very happy not to have school aged children.

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