Slough Cooperative Film Society Slough Cooperative Film Society

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Italy, 2010 110 mins

Tommaso Cantone

Riccardo Scamarcio


Ferzan Ȍzpetek

Alba Brunetti
Antonio Cantone

Nicole Grimaudo
Alessandro Preziosi


Ivan Cotroneo,
Ferzan Ȍzpetek

Vincenzo Cantone

Ennio Fantastichini


Maurizio Calvesi

Stefania Cantone

Lunetta Saviano


Patrizio Marone


Ilaria Occhini


Pasquale Catalano

Turkish-born Italian filmmaker Ȍzpetek branches into comedy with this borderline farce about an established family struggling to grapple with the issues of the 21st century. It's bright and smart and ultimately surprisingly moving.

Returning home to Lecce from his studies in Rome, Tommaso (Scamarcio) confides to his older brother Antonio (Preziosi) that he intends to tell his whole family that he's gay, partly to get out of his responsibilities in the family's pasta business. But at dinner that night, Antonio drops his own bombshell, leaving their parents (Savino and Fantastichini) and sister (Nappi) stunned. Their grandmother (Occhini), however, isn't so surprised. Or shaken. Over the next weeks, the fallout continues as Tommaso befriends the sexy, mysterious Alba (Grimaudo) and neglects his boyfriend (Recano) back in Rome.

Ȍzpetek loves these sorts of family-based movies, with lots of passionate, lively people spiralling around each other. And what makes this film work, besides some strong acting, is the more serious themes the story raises as it explores the conflict between generations at what is clearly a transitional point in cultural history (and not just in Italy). The family patriarch isn't against homosexuality per se, but he's terrified that if his son is openly gay he'll be a laughing stock.

Of course, everyone in this film sees things in a slightly different way. And it's the juxtaposition of three generations that makes things intriguing, especially since Occhini steals the film as the wise woman who knows a thing or two from experience. And Scamarcio is thoroughly engaging as a young guy caught between a rock and a hard place, as it were; his anxiety is a little overplayed, but it's also palpable.

In fine Italian style, most of the key scenes take place at mealtimes, including both the smaller, quiet moments and the bigger farcical events (such as when Tommaso's boyfriend and three very gay pals visit from Rome). But even in the broadest comedy, Ȍzpetek roots the characters in authenticity. And by keeping the tone light and frothy, he's able to explore an intensely serious issue with refreshing insight and a warmly personal touch.

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