Italian Contemporary Film Festival 2013: Viva l’Italia (2012)
Imagine a world in which politicians are compelled to say exactly what’s on their minds all the time. That’s the basic premise of Viva l’Italia, the sophomore directorial effort from Massimiliano Bruno. If you think that sounds hilarious – well, you’d be right. But let the implications of that state of affairs roll around in your mind for a minute, and you’ll realize it’s would be way more complicated and much darker than you might have initially realized.
Viva l’Italia‘s starting point is immediately engrossing. Corrupt senator Michele Spagnolo (Michele Placido) suffers a stroke while romping in bed with his favorite showgirl, leaving the part of brain that controls inhibitions damaged. He starts telling the truth – about everyone and everything, all the time. And it’s not all politics. His three children – son Valerio (Alessandro Gassman) the family screw up who only has a job thanks to his father; daughter Susanna (Ambra Angiolini), a two bit actress who succeeds via connections rather than talent; and son Riccardo (Raoul Bova), the successful doctor who hasn’t spoken to his father in years – all rush to the senator’s side and suffer the consequences of his new found honesty.
Of course automatic, around the clock honesty comes at a steep price and no one wins here. In Viva l’Italia, the message in more political than personal, despite the sticky family dynamics that are addressed. Bruno paints a scathing portrait of the current state of affairs in Italian political and public life, touching on some well trod themes – the damage done by worthless but well-connected people and the plague of a strictly self-interested and immoral political elite. You might expect a feature film to collapse under that kind of weight, but Viva l’Italia asks enough “what ifs” to satisfy even the most politically jaded movie-goer.
Screening Times for Viva l’Italia
Wednesday, July 3, 7 pm
AMC Theatre Cinema 24
A Gallery of Images from Viva l’Italia