Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art

Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 1 post ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 5:59 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2003 1:50 pm
Posts: 3980
Location: California/NYC

A reviving retreat

As Mike D'Angelo noted in his 2012 Cannes AV Club report, Bertolucci's first film in a decade and first one in Italian in thirty years is enjoyable and well made. "Pleasurably inconsequential," he called it, but the now wheelchair-bound filmmaker, logically returning with a movie shot mostly in one small space, could be a small shot in the arm for Italy's currently lackluster cinema world. Anyway it is enjoyable. It starts with Lorenzo (Jacopo Olmo Antinori), an antisocial 14-year-old with a pimply wild-eyed face. He tricks his mother into thinking he's gone off on his class's week-long ski trip, while actually holing up in the large basement under their apartment, having stocked up on a meticulously organized week's worth of supplies. These include canned goods, soft drinks, books, even an ant colony and a big magnifying glass to observe it; he's into insects and animals and probably prefers them to people. In occasional phone chats with his mom, he successfully maintains the pretense that he's up in the mountains with his teacher and classmates.

But in the event Lorenzo is not alone in his basement hideaway, because he's soon joined by his older half sister Olivia (Tea Falco), who has come here to go cold turkey from heroin. It's the only place where she can do this in secret, she says. Lorenzo, it should be noted, as played by the engaging and vivid Antinori, isn't as nerdy and strange as his behavior might imply. Though he's immediately horrified that the flamboyant Olivia will give them away and he'll be "dead," Lorenzo's behavior toward her is uniformly sweet and kindly, and their parting when she is done and he's about to go back is loving. He also has a nice relationship with his bedridden grandmother, whom he visits even while hiding. Antinori has an obvious comic flair, so while Lorenzo's behavior is self-protective it's also humorous, and lighthearted, and future integration into the urban teenage population seems (perhaps for some disappointingly) quite conceivable. But in the film as written, Olivia steals a lot of our attention away from Lorenzo. This too may disappoint some viewers, but the point of the story seems to be that these two solitaries, by being set close together, are humanized, developing a capacity for caring and affection.

Me and You mostly works to develop, without psychological clichés, a close-up of how the rapprochement of Lorenzo and Olivia takes place. An older man comes to visit Olivia and gives her money, apparently for an artwork; we see her sophisticated, witty installations or photo pieces that Lorenzo finds on the Internet. The basement seems to have wi-fi and includes a dingy shower and loo, furniture, and trunks containing the wardrobe of a deceased countess who previously occupied the family apartment. And there's music, including several David Bowie songs, headphones -- and the ants. Olivia is a considerable disruption but things would be pretty flat if she had not shown up. Robinson Crusoe gets his Girl Friday and then some. Falco is vigorous and quirky, Antinori more a natural. It's to be hoped both their talents will be on view again soon.

There's a parallelism between this film and the director's flashier 2002 The Dreamers, with it young, almost incestuous ménage à trois, also confined to one place, though not a basement storage area but a grand Haussmannian Paris apartment. Maybe in this more cramped space, without the contrived and dubious references to 1968, we get to know these characters better. But while it's nice to see Bertolucci working again, it's not yet at all certain what he'll do now will be up to his best earlier work.

Me and You/Io e te, 103 mins., debuted at Cannes May 2012. It opened in Italy 25 Oct. 2012, but in other countries not till 2013. In France (18 Sept. 2013 release) its Allociné press rating was 3.3, the same as The Dreamers got in 2002. It was in the May 2013 SFIFF. Screened for this review as part of the Feb. 2014 Film Comment Selects series at Lincoln Center, New York.

US theatrical release began 4 July 2014 at Lincoln Plaza, Broadway at 62nd Street. Metacritic rating (as of 4 July) 56%.

©Chris Knipp. Blog:

Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 1 post ] 

All times are UTC - 8 hours

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 31 guests

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group