Saturday, October 25, 2008

Il Resto della Notte (The Rest of The Night)

This Francesco Munzi film is very attention grabber because of the cinematography, the excellent editing and a slowly developed story that allows good character development, so the end becomes tense even when you sort of guess what’s going to happen.

With a screenplay also written by Frascesco Munzi tells three intertwined stories that come together at the end. One is about a wealthy family with a typical neurotic, uptight and brittle wife, an always distant and uninterested husband and a spoiled teenager girl, all living their lives unaware of their surroundings. The second is about three Romanian immigrants living the lowlife and hoping to get out of it. The last is about a drug addict man, Marco, that’s loosing control of his life and does it with raw rage. The story detonator is Romanian immigrant Maria (Laura Vasiliu from 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 Days) that works as a maid for the wealthy family and gets fired. She ends up living with ex boyfriend Ionut and his younger brother Victor. Ionut does small jobs with Marco. All these characters will take you in a darkish voyage of contrasts.

But basically and according to me, this is a movie that explores the lack of hope found in trapped lives independently of their social or economical background.

Cinematography is extraordinary with grayish surroundings that recreate the coldness of any northern Italy industrial city full of immigrants. But the editing is really outstanding as flawlessly and very slowly unites the three stories. Performances are acceptable, but Stefano Cassetti that plays Marco steals the movie by delivering a very non-likeable character that just in his eyes you can see the rage that consumes him.

There is some violence in the film, but the most amazing thing is that you do not see anything violent, you can sense it and when really happens the director elegantly and eloquently didn’t show it; instead you’ll see the suffering and impotence of one of the characters. This is truly remarkable and speaks about the great abilities the director has to deal with incidents that could be awfully graphic, but he opts to show human drama instead. Chapeau to Munzi!

Honestly the film does not look or feel like Italian cinema, as not only has a large segment of the movie in Romanian, but also the tech specs are atypical; so, in my opinion this movie looks and feels like an interesting mixture of the New Romanian Cinema Wave style and typical good European drama which makes it absolutely fascinating to watch.

The movie was in competition at the Directors’ Fortnight parallel section of the 2008 Cannes and absolutely is not for all audiences as not only has a slow pace but also is a totally character driven movie. If you enjoy –as I do- the New Romanian Cinema then this is a must be seen movie and if you enjoy characters driven movies then perhaps you’ll also enjoy this movie.

Even when most of the characters are not likeable I have to admit that I was totally mesmerized by this fascinating movie.


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