Perfidia: The pain of living
by Giovanni Melogli
- Bonifacio Angius’ film in competition is a journey into the void of lives unlived
The term echoing around the press conference is malaise. According to many critics this is what is evoked by Bonifacio Angius’ vision of Perfidia [+see also:
film profile], the Italian film in competition at the 67th Locarno Film Festival. Thank God (one of the protagonists of the feature film) the disorder that moves the viewers doesn’t depend on the quality of the movie but on the director’s clear desire to touch on some of the raw nerves of our time: loneliness, the “quiet desperation” of a generation that no longer knows how to live, the origin of conflict between parents and children, and an Italian social fabric, already in shreds.
Upon the death of his wife, Peppino finds himself having to understand who this person is, his son, with whom he shares a home. Angelo, 35 years old, spends his empty days in a dreary backstreet bar, he has no job or loved ones, and he dreams about love, or at least what he thinks a relationship between a man and a woman should be.
Peppino never took any interest in his son and now, aware of the fact that he hasn’t much time left to live, he tries awkwardly to recover the paternal role that he has never had.
Played with admirable effect by Stefano Deffenu (Angelo) and Mario Olivieri (Peppino), the movie is supported by a cultural backdrop that is deeply Italian: a Catholic secularism that conditions Angelo’s childish vision of the world, and Peppino “Gengis Khan”’s streetwise way of living made of clientelism and cheap tricks.
“Like a child deprived of the means to comprehend reality, Angelo clings to a simplified reading of life: the clear Catholic contrast between good and evil” explained director Bonifacio Angius. What’s more the word of God is the actual background noise to the entire film, Peppino is always tuned into Radio Maria, a constant litany that interprets the movie’s key narratives from a Catholic point of view.
Perfidia is a journey into the void of lives unlived, and the void can only bring about dismay and malaise.
(Translated from Italian)