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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Il passato è una terra straniera (The Past Is a Foreign Land)


I had already become interested in Elio Germano's work in the movie "Mio fratello è figlio unico", so it wasn't much of a dilemma to decide on whether to watch this movie. I sometimes assume that some actors will guarantee a reasonably good experience regardless of the script or director, and so I took the plunge.

The story revolves around Giorgio (Elio's character), a Law student from a good family who gets driven into a spiral of criminality. At the beginning he seems to be pulled into that dark side by Francesco, a poker player that quickly reveals himself as a con artist and a dangerous company.

The movie has some harsh moments, and it's not easy to watch at all; some scenes are quite heavy and raw. Both Elio Germano and Michelle Riondino (Francesco) perform admirably, and the movie soundtrack is just perfect, adding to the tension.

By the end of the movie, I'm wondering if Giorgio is a pawn in Francesco's hands, an innocent that redeems himself when he realizes how low he has fallen. At the start point, he is following Francesco...but after a while he is doing a very good job as a criminal on his own. I see it the other way around - Francesco only recognized what was already there to begin with. And Giorgio's effort in coming back to the side of "Law" and "Good" is just a reflection of his will to distance himself from Francesco, who he sees as an inferior. His crimes stay unpunished and he cleanses his sins by accepting to be severely beaten for a crime he had actually not committed...this time.

If I'm not misquoting, Pascal once said that Man is neither angel nor beast. I happen to think Man is both. This movie shows how easily you can go from one end to the other.

Is the movie perfect? No. Are there quite a few loose ends? Yes. Will you forget this movie easily, without a second thought? I'm absolutely sure you won't.


PS - thank you Storyteller, for the warm welcome. I'll do my best to keep your Domain high standards!


Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

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