Late Season: An imaginary jail
by Stefan Dobroiu
- The low-budget co-production shows that prison walls are not necessarily made of iron and concrete
Screened in the Forum of Independents competition at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Danilo Caputo's first feature, Late Season [+see also:
film profile], explores the lives of several characters in a small, unnamed town in southern Italy. Aided by three inter-connected stories, the screenplay written by the director together with Valentina Strada has disquieting, sometimes even menacing, undertones that suggest a drastic change is needed in order for the (film’s) world to survive.
The story focuses on Giovanni (Espedito Chionna), a father and family man who works nights as the receptionist of the town’s only hotel. He suffers throughout his sleepless days, as he cannot rest because of all the noises around him. Giovanni’s colleague Cesare (Francesco Giannico) dreams of moving to Germany, where he wants to start a career as an electronic musician. Almost unrelated to the other two stories is that of Sissi (Michela Di Napoli), a middle-aged woman haunted by dreams and visions of her late father, pestering her on the subject of his favourite shirt.
Divided into nine titled chapters, the film seems to explore a dreadful imaginary prison. The town is painfully stuck in time, and the characters need to take action in order to escape. It is a prison with invisible walls made of indifference, and a lack of empathy, aggressiveness and noise. Backed up by an elaborate sound design and by an almost constantly stationary camera (courtesy of DoP Bastian Esser), Caputo slowly observes his characters, watching their resigned, half-hearted attempts to stir up life around them and move forward.
Some viewers may object to the film’s slowness and apparent lack of structure, which could mean that Late Season is destined only for festival audiences, but patience and attention will reveal a promising first-time director who is very much aware that filmmaking is so much more than putting actors in front of a camera. He creates a well-rounded, convincing – if somewhat bleak – world, slowly revolving in sync with the laments of an old, wandering character who talks about confusion and loss.
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