What do I have to say, let’s try it like this too.
At a certain point, if we want to surrender to the fact that in Italy we only know how to do drama in the dining room, let’s try it this way.
Outside of Italy it works: outside of Italy there are the films of the A24 – ironically it really takes its name from the Rome – Teramo motorway – which are made for those who are ashamed to say they are watching a horror, whether they are mistaken for cave dwellers.
Well then, let’s try it too.
We are in November, I’m talking about Rains, the acronym comes by itself. There’s even some hearty drama in the video!
The basic idea of Rains It is the same as The Sadness.
Which isn’t to say they cheated, huh? The basic idea of The Sadness all in all it is also the same as Ghostbusters 2.
But where The Sadness was born to be an outlet for splatter creativity and had become a kind of outlet on all levels, Rains seems to start from the opposite direction: what if you take the classic Italian drama – the family nucleus in a difficult situation, everyone who experiences their personal problems badly, relationships that need to be mended – and then, instead of concluding it with a cathartic quarrel, went on a violent escalation of a supernatural killing spree?
And everything is in the hands of Paolo Strippoliwho is not one who “stoops down” to making genre films to pander to the masses, but is one who made his debut with horror, and who if he has to prove anything then it is precisely the ability to handle the dramatic side.
Do you know what? There is that with an idea like this it would be easy to turn everything into parody, into horror comedy, just like the previous film co-directed by Strippoli or rather A Classic Horror Story.
And instead Rains it’s serious as death.
Rainsin short, he is here to bring the A24 back to where it belongs: in Rome (next time also in Teramo, why not).
It works like this: under the sewers of Rome there are chemical fumes that cloud your brain.
They come out with (let’s see if you guess) the rain.
Just like slime from Ghostbusters 2, if the fumes contaminate you… it’s not that you become a zombie, let’s say you become nervous. Let’s say your frustrations amplify, you start suffering from dangerous hallucinations, your vision gets confused, your inhibitions loosen, etc… You got it, come on. This is exactly how the effects of marijuana were described in the 1930s.
Stephen Accorsi Fabrizio Rongione) is a widower.
He lost his wife Christine (
Joan Midday Christian Dell’Anna) in an accident for which he suffers from feelings of guilt.
He has a teenage son, Enrico (
Silvio Muccino Francesco Gheghi), who is seized by a typical apathy of the 90s: he vents 1) going around with his best friend Gianluca ( Francis Mandelli Leon de la Vallee), 2) causing damage, filming them and sending the videos to a very shady Whatsapp group, 3) in the arms of a much older woman who treats him like a boy toy.
Above all, he has a 9-year-old daughter, Barbara (
Pierfrancesco Favino Aurora Menenti), who lost the use of his legs in the same accident in which his wife died, putting guilt before his eyes every day.
No: Thomas also has to look after his elderly father (
Bear Maria Guerrini no wait it really is Bear Maria Guerrini!), and hold on to the job.
This is the story that Strippoli wants to tell us, while the incipit immediately shows us a victim of the mysterious fumes to keep us on our toes and promise us horror.
This is the situation, the concentrate of apocalyptic bad luck on which we are asked to concentrate while the signs of a real apocalypse of madness appear in the background and we wait patiently.
I’m coming from a pretty fresh view of The Sadnessand before that Ebola syndrome, so the story I read in situations like this is always the same: what happens when life sucks? What happens when life sucks and maybe you have a little responsibility too? What happens when life sucks, maybe you even have a little responsibility, so it’s increasingly difficult to find someone who wants to understand you and help you out? What happens when the light at the end of the tunnel seems too far away, and you start to think that maybe it’s not worth the effort to reach it? What happens when you lose motivation, when you lose hope? Thomas hasn’t given up hope, but to support his increasingly tragic situation, we need shoulders that are probably bigger than his.
And then you get these strange chemical fumes too, nudging them in the wrong direction.
The solution of Ghostbusters 2 it was relying on the vulgar patriotism / parochialism: the self-propelled Statue of Liberty that arrived in the city and warmed the hearts and lifted the spirits of the New Yorkers gathered, defeating the effects of the evil ectoplasmic mucus.
While in Rains… well, maybe I should talk about Rome for a moment.
I’m from Emilia, I only know Rome as a tourist and through the stories of friends and Madame Cobretti, born and raised at the bottom of the Casilina.
So what I’m wondering is: how is it that when American films talk about supernatural infections, they always refer to improbable accidents, daring circumstances, monstrous coincidences, while between this and They called him Jeeg Robot Is it already the second time that toxic-magic waste appears to be close at hand in Rome, just a little beyond the surface, in a random spot in the Tiber or just below the sewers?
I as I suspect Rome, in this Rainsmay be the most classic of character-cities, but that there really isn’t time to delve into, so in the background remain these coherent observations that add to the drama of the characters.
Rains it is not The Sadness: the contagion remains on a small scale to keep the metaphor in the balance and let us focus on the protagonists.
And Rome is left there, to act as an aftertaste, as if to say “look, don’t get me started on the specific contribution of the city to this generally terrible climate that otherwise I’ll make a four-hour film”.
Rains it’s a blow, a bit in every sense.
It takes on a slow, oppressive and demanding pace and persists in telling you about Thomas and Enrico’s difficult situation, sipping the rest.
On the downside: despite your best efforts and careful distribution of the supernatural moments, keeping up the drama is a chore. Rongione and Gheghi are genuinely remarkable and have the film on their shoulders, but it’s too little for a story that, without the horror element, would have nothing particularly new to offer.
On the bright side: when the horror moments come up, they’re clearly shot by someone who knows what they’re doing.
As much as he takes his time and as much as he puts the characters at the center of the plot, Rains it’s a horror: he’s not ashamed, he doesn’t hide it, he doesn’t scruple to go slow when it’s time to show his cards, he has a safe hand and comes up with more than one not bad image.
So, all in all, we are happy.
Having said that, I don’t want to do what every time an Italian horror movie comes out you start evaluating whether or not it will revolutionize the local scene: I find that Rains is a sensible and potentially interesting road, not necessarily the one I root for the most, even beyond the flaws I find in it.
But one thing must be said: the ban on minors under the age of 18, which has put a big spoke in the works of promotion and distribution, does not make the slightest sense.
It doesn’t have the slightest foothold, except that maybe someone was really expecting a film by Cristina Comencini and when at a certain point they found themselves in front of an old woman tearing her hair off, they shit themselves and got very confused.
And doubly sorry because finding the courage to postpone the platforms and go out to theaters earlier – after a move to genre festivals like the Sitgesthe Fantastic Festival and the Trieste Science+Fiction – was in itself a good sign.
“Pass me the salt (on the wounds)”
Nanni Cobretti, i400calci.com