Gianni Amelio masterfully recounts homosexuality from the clarity of pain

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‘Il signore delle formiche’, the highlight of the official section, recovers the transparent narration of the director of ‘Lamerica’

Tilda Swinton stars in Joanna Hogg’s ‘The Eternal Daughter’.ETTORE FERRARIEFE

The vintage cinema, as a general rule, is weighed down by the curtains. Either the historicist desire to rebuild everything condemns it to a sad Oscar for best costume, or the eagerness to draw parallels with the present ends up turning it into a metaphor rather than a simple parody. And saying this, Giani Amelio. The director of delicate wonders like ‘lamerica’ either ‘House keys’ presented in Venice, in the competition section, a film set in the 60s, but, in his own words, “that speaks of today”. Such a statement caused the Lido to sink two centimeters. There we all went ready to hang from the curtains.

And no. Il Signore delle Formiche (The lord of the ants) tells the story of the playwright and poet Aldo Braibanti. In the 1960s he was arrested for a strange but very real crime, which came under the heading of “brainwashing”. He was accused of having perverted a young man who, in truth, was nothing more than his mistress. And for that he was humiliated and went to prison. The humiliation came both from the ranks of conservatism most faithful to the indestructible seeds left by Mussolini, and from the communism in which he was a militant. In truth, the sentence came to him simply for homosexuality. As one of the characters says: “In Italy homosexuality is not a crime because that would be as much as recognizing that it exists”.

Indeed, and at this point, there is no other choice but to agree with Gianni Amelio. The story is relevant. And not so much because of its actuality and validity, but also because of the need to keep memory alive. Else: go forward slow and go back fast. In addition, in Italy there are elections soon and the polls are quite clear.

The director distances himself from the temptation of preciousness, hidden allegory or perfect reconstruction (the most obvious vices of historicism) to focus on the rigor of the raw. The camera disappears in the cold presentation of an eminently frigid data and history. And cruel. Each of the interpretations Luigi LoCascio in front they limit themselves to reading a script that in its clarity is already interpreted from delicate, firm and tremendously painful writing. And so, the result is a chronicle of the past so precise that it could be said to be the best possible portrait not only of the present but of any time beset, past, in progress or, most dangerously, yet to come. And so.

Beside him, the official section was completed with two disappointments. Not huge or tremendous, but discouraging after all. The loudest, expected, was that of Joanna Hog. It was logical that the first work of the British after the diptych ‘The souvenir‘ –the touchstone of the latest and most interesting cinema– would be expected in Venice like water in May or any other month as we are. ‘The eternal daughter’ it wants to be a gothic tale of a woman in search of herself, her family ghosts or who knows what. Tilda Swinton, who else goes to the old castle that is now a hotel and was once the noble family residence. She goes there with his mother and with a pained memory for a past between serious and just confused.

With these ingredients, the director makes a mysterious, hypnotic and even sleepwalking film, but, and here’s the bad news, completely inane. It would be said that Hogg is carried away by a strange and unpredictable will of style which, let’s admit it, remains without completely distinguishing the disturbing from the simply nervous. Those.

And finally, the honoree and always great Walter Hill. For him it was a new career award and it is fair that it be so for a man capable of everything from ‘The Night Lords (The Warriors)‘ Until now. ‘Dead for a dollar’that is the title of the work presented, is ‘western‘. But the old new way. His manners are those of the classical craftsman Budd Boetticher and his arguments are those of a new era of inclusion, diversity and without countrymen with their faces painted to look like Indians. Director of ‘Outlaws of legend’ he amuses himself reproducing one by one the typical ones of the genre, but in reverse. The problem, that there is, is the lack of humor, the lazy rhythm and the impossibility of distinguishing what is irony from what seems more like a mistake. And so.

According to the criteria of

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Gianni Amelio masterfully recounts homosexuality from the clarity of pain