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  1. Published on: 07/02/2019 08:35 PMReported by: Film Critic
    Plot: A young kind Italian worker and his family become exploited by a tobacco baroness.

    Going into this film, I knew this was going to be one of if not the last of the films I'm seeing at the festival to be seen by the general public, as it's not out till March.

    I also did hear some good buzz from fellow festival-goers earlier in the festival. So there was some form of high expectations going into this, whilst still being pretty cold about the knowledge of the story.

    After feeling like I've travelled the world within this festival, it's now off to Italy with this charming yet surreal fantasy drama.

    The first half is a gentle pace look at rural life not that long ago. I noticed a strong community of characters that I was enjoying their company, particularly bthe central character. The developing relationship between some characters from different hierarchies was interesting to see.

    But it wasn't until the huge tonal shift of the second half that I started to realise the directors message.
    It was quite a shock at first to see certain twists in this type of film. But I think as the film got quirkier, the more charming and invested I was with every aspect of the story.
    There were certain moments at the very end that are abrupt in its execution and initially left me totally stumped.
    But after a quick bit of internet reading after the screening, I feel I've got enough of the message at the end to give a justifiable review.

    There was an outstanding leading performance by Adriano Tardiolo. With many comparisons to Forrest Gump, Lennie from Of Mice and Men, Rain Man, Tom Hanks' character in Big and even Jay Underwood's character from The Boy Who Could Fly, this performance just screamed innocent.
    It was a very endearing performance despite his character showing little emotion and like he was there for the ride and totally oblivious to the revelations happening in the story.
    While the rest of the performances weren't exceptional, they all played their part very well.

    I liked the decision to go 16mm and curved edges for the frame ratio. It certainly incorporated into the themes of the first half and it was interesting seeing it clash with the second half.
    It is also shot really well. Seeing the Italian landscape was a joy and some of the trickery used during the fantasy sequences was cleverly done.

    No negatives from me in terms of the film-making. But I think with the film and narrative not usually being my cup of tea, it may not have strong re-watchability.

    This is certainly a film that's not for everyone and it's one that I would not have seen at the cinema outside of a festival.
    But I think being in the festival mood had me in the right frame of mind for this strange tale that constructs it's themes in a challenging way that general audiences will most likely leave clueless. I ended up really enjoying this and fell for its charm and challenging tone shifts.

    I liked how the director showed the development of Italy's economy from a negative aspect and how the two eras of Italy clashed and the use the fantasy elements enhanced those themes.

    If you give this a chance and embrace the tone you can still enjoy the quirky charm it has, no less from Tardiolo's strong performance.
    Then like myself, with a bit of post-film reading, you can understand and appreciate the themes and mesages a lot more and maybe organise a second viewing not long after the first one.

    Rating: 8/10
    Last edited by Film Critic; 17/02/2019 at 08:19 PM.

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