Bruni's comedy Easy!: a cross between Pinocchio, The Big Lebowski and Lost in Translation
by Vittoria Scarpa
"A small, slow comedy, whose main character is reminiscent of Bill Murray in Lost in Translation": when screenwriter Francesco Bruni expressed these intentions for his directorial debut to his producer Beppe Caschetto, his idea was greeted with a certain perplexity. Considering the success of frenetic and entertaining comedies, slowing down the pace could be a gamble. And yet, Easy! [+see also:
film profile] not only won the Controcampo Italiano Prize at the latest Venice Mostra (see review), but on November 18 it will be released in theatres by its distributor 01 on a 250-print run, with the blessing of maestro Ettore Scola. "I’ve always looked favourably upon screenwriters who become directors", said Scola at the film’s screening, "because directing is a fine-tuning of the writing and Bruni really knows how to translate words into images".
"Scialla" (the film’s original, Italian-language title) is a term of youth slang (meaning "take it easy") and is used repeatedly by the young protagonist Filippo Scicchitano, but also perfectly suits the father played by Fabrizio Bentivoglio, a sort of Big Lebowski figure with a Veneto lilt and immense culture, who takes life very easy: "Bentivoglio’s character represents that rather down-at-heel intellectual bourgeoisie", explained Bruni, "as opposed to the elegant and ignorant bourgeoisie who come from nothing". And as we watch the plight of that inadequate father, we are also reminded of Collodi’s Pinocchio: "My character shares Geppetto’s fear of living up to the fatherly role", commented Bentivoglio, "which is a fear shared by so many men: that of not knowing how to be authoritative enough, of not knowing how to say no".
The film offers many themes and food for thought, therefore, but above all an edifying message (for once) emerges from this encounter-clash between generations and different cultures: it invites younger people to respect others and it invites adults to respect youngsters and not consider them as a commodity. For this reason, we recommend you stay in the theatre and don’t miss the closing credits with a final dialogue between Bentivoglio and drug pusher Vinicio Marchioni: it is lucid, ironic and cathartic.
(Translated from Italian)