Title: Italian Movies
Country: Italy, Russia
Language: Italian, Hindi, Russian
Director: Matteo Pellegrini
Music: Mario Mariani
Cinematography: Umberto Manente
Michele Di Mauro
Why an Italian comedy brazenly names itself ITALIAN MOVIES, a self-referential parody or a grandstanding peddling? Either way, the feature debut of director Matteo Pellegrini turns out be to nothing but another uplifting potboiler of a vacuously self-satisfying mirage which inundates the domestic market.
The picture is about a cluster of night-shift cleaners working for a film studio in Turin, most of them are immigrants, ranges from India – the good-hearted family man Dilip (D’Souza), East Europe – the brain of the group Mako (Guskov) to Central Africa – the bossy grump Zahur (Ebouaney) and the voluptuous seducer Laloo (Gerren), in addition to the natives, an unhappy spinster Gina (Catalano), a torpid wife Charlotte (Kravos) and a carefree youngster Ben (Venitucci) who is congenitally romantic but when comes to the critical moment he gets cold feet.
So the moonlighting business of these laymen starts with clandestinely borrowing the studio cameras to shoot wedding videos on weekends, then evolves into a more audacious plan, hogging the studio during the night to make short films for their sundry clients under the brand “Italian Movies”, most of the videos they make are talking heads with shoddy CGI backgrounds, pertinent to the needs of their patrons, outlandish but never inspirational, so what is the endgame of the big subterfuge? No way it can dodge suspicion all the way, so as to create a sensational closure, the screenwriters cobble together an abysmal national TV Channel hijack with the videos made by the sham studio and hastens up to the feel-good coda where reality never bites.
The characters are all superficially written, either annoyingly over-the-top like Ebouaney, in the waiting-for-her-cheque-then-leave mode like Catalano, or I’m-too-pretty-to-be-a-cleaner like Kravos; D’Souza is too righteous to deliver the “we all have a dream” speech, Guskov wavers between a greedy money-grubber and the perspicuous head of the group, Ventitucci is too nice to blame and the villain-like Filippo Timi has no substantive material to improvise.
The film is supposed to motivate the morale for the lower class (especially under the current economic mire), but the naiveté of an untenable script undermines the positive intention, which, alas, is also a universal malaise in contemporary cinematic comedy output.