Review: Gli anni belli – Cineuropa

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– Co-produced by Italy, Portugal and Serbia, Lorenzo d’Amico De Carvalho’s debut film humorously explores adolescence passionaria Living in a “youthful” country

Ninni Bruschetta, Maria Grazia Cucinotta and Romana Maggiora Vergano in Gli anni belli

The thirst for revolution is fulfilled time to love in Lorenzo d’Amico De Carvalho‘s first feature film Gli anni belli [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, which hits Italian cinemas on February 7th courtesy of Bendico. It’s a coming-of-age story that takes place at a campsite in the summer of the mid-1990s and dares a unique connection of ideas through comedy. Indeed, while the film follows the transition of a rebellious and politically committed young woman into adulthood, it also seeks to explore the transformation of a country – which was also in a ‘juvenile’ period of growth, so to speak – when anything seemed possible. We talk about Italy and the beginning of Silvio Berlusconi’s entry into politics. Themes that are all tackled in a tone reminiscent of the Vanzina brothers’ old films, bursting with exuberant characters, quirky situations, unbridled lightness and a good dose of nostalgia for times gone by.

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It’s the summer of 1994 and our young protagonist Elena, played by Romana Maggiora Vergano (also currently appearing on TV in the Sky series Christian [+see also:
series review
series profile
]
), dreams of changing the world. There’s a new government in power promising change and prosperity, and on TV, leggy dancers go nuts, telesales and world championships starring Roberto Baggio. But Elena wants to start a revolution because, as a principled 16-year-old model, she hates consumerism, monopoly and “the declining effects of mass subculture.” However, the young woman’s ideals collide with those of her father Eugenio (Ninni Bruschetta), an easygoing Greek teacher who has a loving and well-established relationship with his wife Adele (Maria Grazia Cucinotta), who are accomplices, albeit a little tired. In her eyes, it’s vacation time; The revolution can wait. But when the three arrive at the campsite where they always spend their summer holidays, under the aegis of a new director, they discover a markedly different atmosphere than in previous years (Stefan Viali), who bears an uncanny resemblance to the new head of government: he uses slogans, tells jokes and promises “more holidays for everyone”. For Elena, it’s a nightmare made bearable only by the arrival of a group of young “warriors” like her at the campsite.

Written by the director and documentary filmmaker (Rua do Prior 41) along with his wife Anne Riitta Ciccone (I am (endless as space) [+see also:
trailer
interview: Anne-Riitta Ciccone
film profile
]
, screened in Giornate degli Autori 2017), from which the film arose, the script then paves the way for a real field fight, both verbally and also (with water pistols) between these “dangerous communists” and the team of youths who work for the Campsite director – whose job it is to ensure new rules are adhered to, like banning hawkers from selling their wares on the beach and insisting on eating and drinking at the bar – all interspersed with first loves , tears, dives, marital crises, longing to grow up and find your place in the world, and hurricanes that blow everything up. It’s a gentle comedy, at times over-the-top trying to make viewers laugh, but which still offers modern younger audiences a chance to glimpse a bygone era if they so choose; a time before social media, when summer holidays were truly an opportunity to let go and be spent in a microcosm of our choosing (in this case a campsite in Calabria), with no cell phones or internet, where people enjoyed making new friends find and take over the system with what they had.

Gli anni belli is an international co-production between Italy, Portugal and Serbia, directed by Bendico Next RAI cinema, Hora Magica and Art & Popcorn, in cooperation with RTP – Radio and Television of Portugal.

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(Translated from Italian)

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