Baaria Movie Review

A robust epic spanning some 70 years of Sicilian history, this is a sprawling production that's certainly impressive to watch. Although filmmaker Tornatore throws way too much at the screen, leaving us exhausted in the process.

In the 1920s, Peppino (Scianna) is born in the spirited town of Baaria (aka Bagheria) in northern Sicily. As he grows up, he falls for local girl Mannina (Made), whose family doesn't approve, and gets increasingly involved in politics, working with the communist party to protect people's rights from both the oppressive government and the mafia. Over the years, they have five children, including the precocious and imaginative Pietro (Scortino), who becomes obsessed with cinema.

Baaria is also where Tornatore was born, so the film is clearly a labour of love, drawing on his personal family history and early memories. He also seems to employ Sicily's entire population as extras for frequent crowd scenes, which are thrillingly shot and edited. He also vividly recounts Italian history through the eyes of earthy Sicilians who are often at odds with both the distant Italian government and the mafiosos who try to control their lives.

Yes, the film is assembled on a massive scale, infused with strong Latin passions that continually echo in Ennio Morricone's swelling score. The expansive settings are seriously impressive, while smaller bits of movie magic tie things together inventively, although the livelier early scenes are a lot more engaging than the draggy political section. But all of it is energetic, infused with anarchic humour and huge emotions as these people are confronted with big decisions, a variety of adventures and life-and-death experiences over the decades.

Being a series of anecdotes, the film lurches through Peppino's life without much momentum. The larger scenes capture the community's feisty resilience, but overall the film is so crowded and far-reaching that it's not easy to remember who's who; only Peppino and Mannina really develop as characters. But Scianna and Made add charm and personality to the local details--customs, superstitions, apocryphal stories and scores of vivid side characters. And even though it's awash with Tornatore's usual golden-hued sentimentality, this is a fascinating, important and beautifully made film that rather overstays its welcome.

Cast & Crew

Producer : Tarak Ben Ammar, Marina Berlusconi

Starring : Francesco Scianna, Margareth Made, , Angela Molina, , Salvo Ficarra, Valentino Picone,


Comments

Baaria Rating

" OK "

Rating: 15, 2009

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

Why ‘The House of Magic’ Is The Movie To Go See This Weekend

If you’re looking for a cinematic treat for all the family this weekend, then...

Why ‘The House of Magic’ Is The Movie To Go See This Weekend

Here Comes Guardians of The Galaxy, A Huge Weekend in Store?

‘Guardians of The Galaxy’ hits cinemas next weekend with Marvel...

Here Comes Guardians of The Galaxy, A Huge Weekend in Store?

Bastille - Flaws [Live]

Bastille perform their 2012 single 'Flaws' live at The Troubadour in London to an enthusiastic crowd. The...

Bastille - Flaws [Live] Video

Colbie Caillat - Try Single Review

Colbie Caillat isn't known for producing 'trendy' pop songs of any kind, but she certainly always maintains...

Colbie Caillat - Try Single Review

'The Purge: Anarchy' Launches Another Grisly Franchise

Last year's sleeper hit The Purge was an unusually intelligent thriller starring Ethan Hawke as...

'The Purge: Anarchy' Launches Another Grisly Franchise

Nightcrawler Trailer

Lou Bloom is a hard-working budding journalist whose deep obsession with his career has rendered him...

Nightcrawler Trailer
Advertisement

'Joe' Is A Reminder That Nicolas Cage is a Great Actor

There are all kinds of theories about Nicolas Cage's acting style, usually centred on whether...

'Joe' Is A Reminder That Nicolas Cage is a Great Actor

Blunt, Mirren or Winslet? Who Will Win Best Actress Oscar 2015?

The biggest night in the film award circuit is still seven months away. But...

Blunt, Mirren or Winslet? Who Will Win Best Actress Oscar 2015?

Legendary Rocker Tom Petty Returns With New Album 'Hypnotic Eyes'

American rock legend Tom Petty reunites with backing band The Heartbreakers...

Legendary Rocker Tom Petty Returns With New Album 'Hypnotic Eyes'


More recommendations

Advertisement