Sunday, June 10, 2012

Euro 2012: Italian Films

Entry #12 of the Euro 2012 Book & Film Spotlight looks at the two Italian films.

The Salt of Life (2011, Gianni Di Gregorio)

Gianni is back!

In The Salt of Life, writer/director Gianni Di Gregorio reprises his Gianni character from the charming 2008 film Mid-August Lunch. When we first met Gianni, we saw him cooking delicious meals for his demanding mother and her friends. Almost 3 years on, Gianni is still doing those things but we also get to peek inside his head and discover his fantasies and desires. And his inner thoughts confirm that age is a state of mind. Even though his physical body is racking up the years, Gianni is a romantic at heart and still fantasies about the simple things in life, a glass of wine, a pleasant conversation with a charming woman, a good meal and getting a kiss from a blond or two.

Since he spends all his time cooking for women, it is not a surprize to discover that one of his dreams is to be served a home cooked meal by a woman.
The Salt of Life is an enjoyable film that makes one long to sit in an Italian cafe with a glass of wine and just admire the beauty that nature has to offer.

Terraferma (2011, Emanuele Crialese)

Emanuele Crialese uses the Sicilian island of Linosa to depict a relevant economic issue and also a coming of age story. As per the film, the island’s once thriving fishing practice is almost on the verge of extinction and that threatens to erase the livelihood of the island’s few remaining fishermen. That is not to say that the island is forgotten. Tourists still flock to the beaches thereby providing a major source of revenue while immigrants also swim to the shores from far off places in order to grab a foothold into Europe. The appearance of the illegal immigrants is a bother to the law officials and some businessmen who feel their presence will generate negative publicity and drive away the tourists. Caught in the crossroads is young Filippo (Filippo Pucillo) who is torn in between supporting his grandfather Ernesto (Mimmo Cuticchio) and his mother/uncle. Ernesto, a veteran fisherman, believes in following the “law of the sea” which requires that no one should be left to drown in the ocean and instead brought on board a boat. However, the police want the immigrants left in the water and not brought on the fishermen’s boats. Ernesto’s ways land him in trouble with the authorities while complicating matters for Filippo and his mother. Filippo’s mother and uncle want to earn revenue from tourism and they feel Ernesto’s stubborn holding onto the past will threaten future prospects.

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