It's 30-year-old Lorenzo (Luca Argentero) and his lover Davide (Pierfrancesco Favino) who attract friends to their dinner parties. Troubled married couple Antonio (Stefano Accorsi) and Angelica (Margherita Buy) are regulars, as are Davide's ex Sergio (Ennio Fantastichini), drug-addled Roberta (Ambra Angiolini), and, most memorably Neval (Serra Yilmaz), a short and fat truth teller who busts through the rest of the group's fibs and vague comments with cutting remarks. She's the one who can be counted on to keep things somewhat lively.
When Lorenzo keels over at a dinner party, his friends rush him to a hospital, where it's determined that he's suffered a massive brain hemorrhage and there is little hope. The tragedy leads to lots of waiting room scenes and whispered accusations and threats as the stress of the situation adds to Angelica and Antonio's marital woes and leads everyone else to debate who loved Lorenzo the most. Their final farewell scene, in which they gather around Lorenzo's corpse in the morgue is a study in light-handed direction, as each character is positioned just so and reacts with great subtlety.
Now deprived of the center of their social gravity, the friends bounce off each other recklessly until they get the chance for one big final reconciliation at the lovely vacation home where Davide and Lorenzo first met. It's all quite elegant, chatty, and Italian. Director Ferzan Ozpetek is currently one of Europe's leading talents. As a Turk working out of Italy, he has an intriguing continental viewpoint that he's brought to bear in his earlier films, most notably Steam: The Turkish Bath. Saturn in Opposition isn't as interesting as that film. As ensemble dramas go, this one is extremely level-headed, so level-headed that the 110 minutes seem to tick by slowly. One would hope for a bit more dish smashing and wine hurling. Aren't Italians supposed to be volatile?
Aka Saturno contro.
Run time: 110 mins
In Theaters: Friday 23rd February 2007
Distributed by: Filmcoopi Zürich
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
IMDB: 6.7 / 10
Director: Ferzan Ozpetek
Producer: Tilde Corsi, Gianni Romoli