Sunday, March 6, 2016

Latin Lover [2015]

MPAA (UR would be R)  Fr. Dennis (4 Stars)

IMDb listing listing listing* (C. Ugolini) review* (S. Santoni) review* (D. Catelli) review* (P. Casella) review*

The Hollywood Reporter (D. Young) review
Variety (N. Vivarelli) review

Latin Lover [2015] [IMDb] [CEu] []* (directed and cowritten by Cristina Comencini [IMDb] [CEu] []* along with Giulia Calenda [IMDb] [CEu]) is an often very funny if at times biting / painful and certainly _thoroughly deconstructive_ ITALIAN COMEDY about the post-War through 1970s Myth of the "Latin Lover."  The film played recently at the 19th (2016) Chicago European Union Film Festival held at the Gene Siskel Film Center here in Chicago.

The story is set in the context of the funeral, er "memorial service" for a (fictionalized) "iconic" Italian actor from said era (the 1950s-70s) named Saverio Crispo (played by Francesco Scianna [IMDb] []*) and needless to say, "all is family" is to be there.

That's, of course, the problem, because said family includes:

(1) His two wives, "the first, the Italian one," Rita (played by Virna Lisi [IMDb] []*) as well as "the later Spanish one," Ramona (played by Marisa Paredes [IMDb] []*) as well as

(2) their daughters Suzanna (played by Angela Finochiaro [IMDb] []*), by Rita, and Segunda (literally "the second one") (played by Candela Peña [IMDb] []*) by Ramona.

Then, of course, to be included are (3) at least _some_ of his better known / still more attached to the family, illegitimate children -- Solveig (played by Pihla Vitala [IMDb] []*) born of a young Swedish starlet of the era and apparently raised by together with Segunda by dutiful second wife Ramona, as well as quite nice (raised by her French actress mother) but almost utterly neurotic Stephanie (played by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi [IMDb] []*).   Finally, there's even a young rising American New York jazz scene piano player named Shelley (played by Nadeah Miranda [IMDb] []*) who, "sooo far" (in sooo many ways....) from the rest of this patchwork mess of a family, comes late to the funeral, who Saverio never knew, but whom SHE met once (mild spoiler: Severino, her father, actually hit on her ... his (unknownst to him ...) daughter... Yuck.  Yes ... but _given his life_ "how would he know?" ...).

So THIS ... is the man to be eulogized at this funeral, er "memorial service ..."

And the men in the story -- an old "film critic" friend of his, nicknamed "Picci" (played with quite wonderful old-age cluelessness by Toni Bertorelli [IMDb] []*) who serves as "MC" at the memorial service, as well as fawning long-since wash-out of an actor named "Pedro" (played wonderfully by Lluís Homar [IMDb] []*) whose "greatest moment" of his life was working as a bit actor in one of Saverio's early 1960s era Westerns, as well as a few of Saverio's daughters' louts of husbands -- simply DON'T SEEM TO APPRECIATE what kind of an utter and _often painful_ disaster Saverio's _personal life_ was.  To many of them, EVEN FACED "WITH THE EVIDENCE RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM" ... Saverio was (sincerely) "living the dream" ;-)

It's one heck of a movie ... and one that honestly could only be made in this way _by a woman_. ;-)

So fantastic job folks, fantastic job ;-)

* Foreign language webpages are most easily translated using Google's Chrome Browser. 

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