Directed by Daniele Luchetti
In Italian with English subtitles
I saw this excellent movie at the Kendall Square Theater last Friday, and I'm happy to report that it's the best modern Italian film I've seen in ages (the final moments, in particular, just wowed me with all the raw emotion on display). The one plot summary I'd read about it going in didn't sound entirely promising--two brothers, one a communist and the other a fascist, fall in love with the same girl as part of their coming of age/sibling rivalry story set in a '60s and '70s Italy still traumatized by World War II--but the storylines were handled with such energy, unpredictability and humor that I can barely wait till it's available on DVD. It helps that all three leads (Elio Germano as Accio, Riccardo Scamarcio as Manrico, and Diane Fleri as the way-cute love interest Francesca) are charismatic and convincing in playing flesh and blood characters who actually evolve as the story progresses, but the script is equally adept at evoking both a period anti-Americanism ("What can Americans do besides skyscrapers? Nothing!" one disgruntled guy asks) and a domestic cynicism ("A fascist in the family is always handy...like a plumber," Accio notes before roughing somebody up) without resorting to the usual stereotypes. Messy, exuberant and soulful.