Opening 21 Nov 2013
Writing credits: Niccolò Ammaniti, Umberto Contarello, Francesca Marciano, Bernardo Bertolucci
Principal actors: Tea Falco, Jacopo Olmo Antinori, Sonia Bergamasco, Veronica Lazar, Tommaso Ragno
Lorenzo is 14, has acne and a few whiskers, and wants nothing more than to be left in peace. He achieves his goal by telling him mom, “bye bye” near the bus which will take his class on a week-long, class trip, and then disappearing. He pops up in the basement of his own apartment building, where he has organized everything he needs to camp out for a week. Luckily, these buildings in Italy seem to have toilets, running water, electricity, etc., in the roomy basement. He has deposited all the best books for a nice uninterrupted stay. Naturally, there would be no story if this status didn’t change, and soon Olivia barges in. It’s no surprise that she knows her way around the cellar, because she is Lorenzo’s 25-year-old half-sister with whom he has had very little contact. Olivia also needs to camp out for a week, although in her case, it’s more of an opportunity to kick a heroin addiction, which makes her an uncomfortable roommate, kind of Leonardo di Caprio in The Basketball Diaries. During their week together, they discuss their patchwork family, help each other grow in different ways, so that, in the end, everyone has a new take on life.
We need not fear that Bernardo Bertolucci may have disappeared, as we might if nothing other than The Last Tango in Paris (1972) or The Last Emperor (1987) is all that comes to mind. Bertolucci is still definitely tops in the film business, this time with a small cast of two, plus small cameos by a mother, a doorman, an old boyfriend (how did he get into the cellar?), etc. Very important are mobile phones, where it’s possible to tell your clueless mom how much fun you are having on the class trip. (Doesn’t the class teacher ever take roll?) The soundtrack appropriately features songs like “Boys Don’t Cry” (The Cure) or “Ground Control to Major Tom” (David Bowie), as well as music from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. (Becky Tan)