Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013


Luciano is a gregarious fishmonger with his own Stall near his home in one of the old quarters of Naples. He is not just one of the few men in his sprawling family of numerous aunts and cousins, but he is always the life of soul of their group.  One day when his wife and three young children are shopping in a nearby Mall with the entire family in tow, they come across a TV Production Company who are looking for people to try out for ‘Grande Fratello’ Italy’s own smash hit ‘Big Brother’. The kids phone Luciano, and encouraged by the family, persuade their Dad to immediately leave the Stall and rush over to audition.
He arrives to late but as he recently had a brief encounter with Enzo a former star of the Show who is hosting the event, he persuades him to get the Producer to still let him audition.
A few weeks later Luciano gets a phone call inviting him to the Cinecittà Studios in Rome for a follow up interview and screen test. When he emerges after this is over to greet his anxious family, he tells them that all the other applicants had been given a mere five minutes, whilst his session with the Producers had lasted over an hour.  This has convinced him that being offered  a place in the Big Brother House is a mere formality.
Word travels faster than him, and he returns home to Naples to tumultuous applause like the conquering hero that TV stars are feted like these days.  Over the next few weeks he is congratulated by the whole neighborhood whilst he waits for ‘the call’.  As the weeks drag on he starts to develop a paranoia that the TV Company want to check out his story and also test him to see what type of man he is. So he believes that every single stranger he spots in his locale is spying on him to see if he is in fact a good soul …. and eventually as he is convinced that this is the one thing stopping him being on the TV Show, he sells up the Fish Stall, and much to the consternation of his wife, starts to give away all their possessions to homeless people in the street.
For a man like Luciano whose life up to now has been scrambling for a living in a decaying inner city the lure of the high glossy shiny life depicted in a Reality TV Show is too much to pass up on.  And it seems like the struggle to get their at all costs is not just for himself but all the others like him.  Like the Papal procession he encounters on his way to break into the Big Brother House, it bears no relevance at all to the life that he and most other people lead.
The story behind the movie itself is equally as interesting, directed and co-written by Matteo Garrone, and its a far cry from his last bleak movie ‘Gomorrah’ a harrowing fictional look at organized crime ….one of the best films of 2008.  And his stunning lead actor Aniello Arena who was so central to making this work, is currently serving a life sentence in prison for murder, and was given special permission to be allowed out on a daily basis to shoot this movie.
It’s a bittersweet comedy/drama about how obsession can lead to desperation  ….. ‘this is our chance’ Luciano screams at his wife, but by then she wants to let go. And we want him too as well.

Posted by queerguru  at  01:29



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