Monday, October 25, 2010


If only all milkos were this scrummy!

This is in fact Francesco Scianna who plays the part of Peppino Torrenuova in Giuseppe Tornatore's Baaria.  You remember Mr Tornatore...He made that marvellous hearwarming film Cinema Paradiso.  And a couple of others - like A Pure Formality starring Gerard Depardieu. Baaria is apparently Sicilian slang for the town called Bagheria - Tornatore's birthplace.

I am a complete sucker for Italian films.  It all began back in the lates 70s when I enrolled in Italian at Sydney Uni.  Our teachers encouraged us to avail ourselves of all the free movies at the Uni cinema.....I saw Bertolucci's 1900, I saw Padre Padrone...I probably saw a lot more than that...but they are the ones I remember...

I cheerfully confess that I learned about sex in Italian movies....and violence.  They are a passionate people.

Rather like Bertolucci's 1900, this film attempts to encapsulate a great span of time - from about 1920 through to the 60s and more.  One absolutely needs to suspend disbelief but in the hands of a master storyteller, I had no difficulty.  From the opening scene where the little Peppino runs down the street so fast that he starts to fly, I was entranced.

This is ultimately a story about the human struggle - to live, to fight for one's beliefs, to dream and to believe.  Strong stuff indeed.  It is a story about love, family and politics. Sicily where poverty still is a grim reality, the personal is political.

Ennio Morricone provides the score to lead us through the raging torrent of emotions.  I did not find it overpowering or intrusive - just complementary.  What a powerhouse that man is - I get RSI just rolling through his credits on IMDB.

The cast in turn was stupendous and the cinematography stunning.  Some of the scenery is breathtaking.

It is not for the faint of bladder running at 163 minutes but I loved every second and stayed til the last rolling credit. Of course there are others who would disagree, such as Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian who described it as epically dull and a colossal Stella Artois ad.  Sniff. 

This was part of the Lavazza Italian Film Festival which finished in Brisbane last night.  If you're in Adelaide or Perth I think you may be out of luck for this particular film, though the Festival continues for a couple more days there. 

The rest of you in Australia will have to pray that SBS picks it up or that your local DVD shop sees fit to buy it.


No comments: