It’s impossible to avoid Ogni maledetto Natale
by Vittoria Scarpa
- Ciarrapico, Torre and Vendruscolo direct an irreverent comedy about what they believe to be the most distressing time of the year: Christmas. It hits screens on 27 November courtesy of 01
Can love survive Christmas? This is the question being asked by Giacomo Ciarrapico, Mattia Torre and Luca Vendruscolo, the golden trio behind the extremely successful TV series Boris and Boris - Il film [+see also:
film profile], in their new, eagerly awaited comedy, Ogni maledetto Natale (lit. “Every Bloody Christmas”). While in their previous works they ridiculed the world of TV and film fiction, this time around, the three directors-screenwriters – who truly are the kings of irreverence – dissect one of the family institutions par excellence, the time of year when we should all love each other and try to be on our best behaviour, but a celebration that for lots of us instead represents a menace that it is impossible to escape from: Christmas. A nightmare complete with sinister flashing lights, robbers dressed as Santa Claus, old-fashioned customs, stress and assorted craziness, from which even the most loved-up couple in the world cannot escape unscathed.
Indeed, at the heart of Ogni maledetto Natale are a boy and a girl, Massimo (X Factor presenter Alessandro Cattelan, making his film debut) and Giulia (Alessandra Mastronardi). They are young and pure, and have fallen in love at first sight. Everything is going swimmingly – they feel exhilarated, have plenty of sex and understand each other fully – until the day that fateful question comes up: what are you doing for Christmas? Massimo and Giulia still don’t know each other that well, let alone each other’s families. But the dinner on Christmas Eve and lunch on the 25th will be the perfect chance to introduce everybody, in a whirlwind of tragicomedy that will compare and contrast two very different and far-removed situations: that of the Colardos (her family), a bunch of rural troglodytes with a penchant for boar-hunting, obscure card games and hallucinogenic grappa; and that of the Marinelli Lopses (his family), wealthy panettone producers for whom Christmas means nothing but business and is a time for hasty donations to charity, individuals who are brimming with neuroses and are unable to remember the name of even one of their many domestic servants.
The movie has a stellar cast: Valerio Mastandrea, Laura Morante, Marco Giallini, Corrado Guzzanti, Francesco Pannofino, Caterina Guzzanti, Andrea Sartoretti and Stefano Fresi. Each of these actors takes on a dual role, in one family as well as in the other. The film is split into two very distinct parts: the first, which takes place in the Colardos’ house, is not lacking in lavishness (the characters are virtually in fancy dress); the second, which unfolds at the Marinelli Lops residence, focuses a little too heavily on something else (the suicide of the Filipino servant, an excuse for the outstanding Corrado Guzzanti to take centre stage and put on a highly amusing performance). The whole thing sometimes verges on the chaotic, and one might be tempted to watch the film again in order to dig deeper and unearth the undertones and the witty lines that the directorial trio really know how to bestow upon their characters – as we are well aware. “The challenge was to make a Christmas film that was still a comedy and adhered to our style,” assert the creators. But don’t call it anti-cinepanettone (that particular breed of comical Italian Christmas films): “Our movie is anti-nothing,” stresses Mastandrea. “It’s simply a comedy that looks at Christmas from another angle.” And the angle adopted by the Boris trio will surely not be missing its ever-loyal following at the box office.
Following its premiere at the upcoming Torino Film Festival (21-29 November), Ogni maledetto Natale (a Wildside production with Rai Cinema, supported by MiBACT) will be released across 250 screens on 27 November, courtesy of 01.
(Translated from Italian)