Fabrizio Bentivoglio

Fabrizio Bentivoglio

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Human Capital Review


Good

Sharply well-made and powerfully performed, this Italian drama weaves together three perspectives to explore a mystery that's so involving that it pushes the central theme about the value of a human life into the background. Of course financial issues are far less interesting than personal drama, but even if the message is rather muddled, this is an involving low-key dramatic thriller that has a lot to say about human ambition.

The story is told in three chapters, as the same six months are seen through three perspectives. First, Dino (Fabrizio Bentivoglio) is struggling financially when he realises that his daughter Serena (Matilde Gioli) is dating Massimiliano (Guglielmo Pinelli), son of noted hedge fund manager Giovanni (Fabrizio Gifuni). So Dino illicitly borrows cash to make an investment, then is shocked when the economy crashes just as his wife (Valeria Golino) gets pregnant. Second, Giovanni's wife Carla (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) convinces her husband to let her restore an abandoned local theatre, then she has an unexpected spark of romance with her artistic director (Luigi Lo Cascio). And third, Serena doesn't actually want romance with Massimiliano, and after telling him she just wants to be friends she meets Luca (Giovanni Anzaldo), a poor guy who isn't the thug everyone thinks he is.

All of this builds up to a fateful event witnessed in the film's prologue (and settled in the epilogue), letting each of the three strands intersect and interact in surprising ways. As the story is revealed from different angles, new truths emerge about the interplay between people from the upper, middle and lower classes - from the obscenely privileged who can buy their way out of anything to those who never seem to get a break. And the complex script never draws moral lines in the expected places, allowing the characters to continually surprise us with their reactions.

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Apartment Zero Review


Excellent
The psycho-roommate thriller done the right way, with Firth's Felix Unger playing off Bochner's mysterious American... who may or may not be slaughtering the residents of Buenos Aires, where the film takes place. Creepy and original, Apartment Zero got a crummy update later with Single White Female and a good one with Shallow Grave. Donovan's direction recalls Polanski and his and Koepp's script exudes Hitchcock. A better combo I couldn't give you.

Apartment Zero Review


Excellent
The psycho-roommate thriller done the right way, with Firth's Felix Unger playing off Bochner's mysterious American... who may or may not be slaughtering the residents of Buenos Aires, where the film takes place. Creepy and original, Apartment Zero got a crummy update later with Single White Female and a good one with Shallow Grave. Donovan's direction recalls Polanski and his and Koepp's script exudes Hitchcock. A better combo I couldn't give you.

Elective Affinities Review


Weak
If someone asked me to identify a prototypical "art film," I could do no better than to point them to Elective Affinities, a low-budget period piece from Italy, featuring circuitous dialogue, a story based on a Goethe novel, and an absolutely awful title.

Elective Affinities tracks a foursome in a Tuscan villa who couple in a variety of formations. There's bad feelings and a baby, but most of all there's a whole lotta talking about emotions -- with a pseudo-scientific explanation of love as a mathematical equation (which, sort of, explains the title).

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Remember Me, My Love Review


OK
Italian Beauty? Even more so than in his previous film, The Last Kiss, Gabriele Muccino's story of despair and decay in an outwardly normal Roman household apes domestic forebears like American Beauty almost too closely. Still, to claim suburban ennui as a distinctly American experience would be hubris at its worst, so let's give Muccino his stab at the genre.

In this outing, all four family members are dropped right in the middle of their respective crises: Dad (Fabrizio Bentivoglio) is rekindling an affair with an old girlfriend (played by Monica Bellucci, who could possibly blame him?), while Mom (Laura Morante) is tentatively dipping a toe into the world of acting. Sis Valentina (Nicoletta Romanoff) is the proto-teen who hates everything and dresses like a whore -- and she's trying to become a dancer on TV... and what good could come of that? Then there's brooding Paolo (Silvio Muccino, Gabriele's kid brother and a regular in his films), who can't score with the girls and seems on the verge of suicide from frame one.

Continue reading: Remember Me, My Love Review

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