Tuesday, October 4, 2022

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Criticism of ‘Ariaferma’, Italian title with Toni Servillo at the helm

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Leonardo di Costanzo directs Toni Servillo together with Silvio Orlando, Fabrizio Ferracane and Salvatore Striano.

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Like Di Costanzo’s two previous fiction features, ‘Ariaferma’ is a work encapsulated within a symbolic space with a lot of theatrical scenery, in which the flow of time tends to get lumpy until it almost borders on narrative abstraction; a stagnant territory where the events that take place are reduced to a minimum and the gestures and mental processes of the characters take over the show, imposing a slow, meditative and, at times, even absorbed cadence. If something seems to reject this filmmaker –already from his previous (and notable) ‘L’intervallo’ and ‘L’intrusa’, also chronicles of closed venues, sparse storytelling and deep breath– it is any attempt to water down the tone, sometimes little less How stony of your proposal. Such adherence to rigor, let’s say ‘verist’, in form and substance, such rejection of sheepish-serial marketing could be a vestige of his origins as a documentary filmmakersomething glimpsed in the most naturalistic and verbally concise passages, but only one of the ingredients, by no means the main one, of Di Costanzo’s peculiar formula when it comes to dealing with plot cinema.

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We are not dealing with a dramaturgy of social inquiry a la Francesco Rosini but with another exercise in tragi-comedy of manners with transalpine roots, somewhere between neorealism and farce. The Neapolitan filmmaker seems to drink from more literary than film sources. Thus, the characters of Servillo and Orlando remind us of Vladimir and Estragon played (I grant that) by two students of Ugo Tognazzi and Toto. And does that Beckettiana hope that she seems to have stopped the clock in the proscenium prison does not refer to ‘The desert of the Tartars’ by Dino Buzzati? Would it be too crazy to allude to Ionesco or Kafka? And the Coetzee from ‘Waiting for the Barbarians’? Total, for a premiere that allows it… ‘Ariaferma’ may not be a masterpiece, but, in its atypical way, it is preferable to a thousand good movies of yesterday and today executed from sports perfectionism; better this pause, this calloused humanism and without purple underlining than chaining sequences like someone filling the supermarket cart on autopilot, without even looking at a shopping list that you don’t even need to consult anymore.

For those who do not need adrenaline to enjoy the cinema.

The best: it is a truly relevant work, both in terms of subject matter and execution.

The worst: that few people walk with their heads for such depth.


Direction: Leonardo di Costanzo Distribution: Toni Servillo, Silvio Orlando, Fabrizio Ferracane, Salvatore Striano Original title: ariaferma Country: Italy Year: 2021 Release date: 08–04-2022 Gender: Drama Film script: Leonardo di Costanzo, Bruno Oliviero, Valia Santella Duration: 117 minutes

Synopsis: An old 19th century prison, located in an inaccessible and indeterminate area of ​​Italian territory, is being abandoned. Due to bureaucratic problems, transfers are blocked, and about a dozen prisoners remain, with few agents, waiting for new destinations.

Source: Fotogramas

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