Young Accio (Vittorio Emanuele Propizio) yearns for the priesthood, but not as much as his young body yearns for the bodies of Italian movie actresses, whom he discovers through small photos. When he can't get a straight cure from the clerics, Accio goes secular and takes up a kindred cause: fascism. His older brother Manrico (Riccardo Scamarcio) is celebrated by their parents for causing a riot at work under the banner of communism and unionization, but a teenaged Accio, played by the talented Elio Germano, takes chastisement at every turn for his loyalty to the ways of Mussolini.
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Turned off yet? If not, then Castellitto's wealth of ostentatious slow-motion shots, employment of cheesy pop songs, and disgusting, exploitive use of a critically wounded young girl for his film's framing story, will undoubtedly do the trick. Adapted from Margaret Mazzantini's novel, Don't Move layers on cheap sentiment and shamelessly calculating plot twists without even a sidewise glance toward rationality. Timoteo's teenage daughter suffers serious head trauma in a motorcycle accident, and while waiting to hear word of her grave condition, Timoteo spies a mysterious figure on the hospital promenade who conjures memories of his beloved Italia, whom he not only loved and planned to run away with (wife and brand new baby be damned), but whom he credits for having healed his tortured soul. As embodied by Castellitto, Timoteo is the kind of misery-relishing sad-sack who enjoys prolonged, empty stares into nothingness, and his behavior is so ridiculous - including one screamingly silly moment when he writes "I Raped A Woman" in the sand while his wife ignorantly saunters by - that it's hard to envisage him as anything less than an absurdly overblown fictional creation. Watching him act forlornly in a dreary bar (in slow-motion, naturally) while Europe's "The Final Countdown" blares from the jukebox is to witness the eye-rolling height of bizarre unintentional comedy.
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Tea with Mussolini focuses on the life of a boy named Luca, who is director Franco Zefferelli's alter ego. In Florence 1935, young Luca's mother is dead, and he is an orphan. Although Lucas wealthy father lives near by, he has no time for children. The father's English secretary Mary Wallace (Joan Plowright) sees the unjust way Luca is being raised in the orphanage. As a result she takes him in. Along with Mary's group of English tea time friends known as The Scorpioni, Luca is taught many things. He learns to appreciate art through the nutty, yet lovable artist Arabella (Dame Judi Dench). He learns of Shakespeare and culture from his guardian Mary, and learns how to behave as a gentleman through the other members of The Scorpioni.
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The boy is Michele (Giuseppe Cristiano), a creative, inquisitive youngster who lives with his parents and kid sister in a rural rundown village on the outskirts of nowhere. He roams the gorgeous arid fields with his friends, and then rushes home to eat dinner and arm-wrestle his father. It appears that Dad is away for chunks of time, but neither Michele nor the audience gets enough information to fill in the blanks.
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