Il nome del figlio, I hate you tenderly
by Camillo De Marco
- Francesca Archibugi directs an Italian re-interpretation of Le Prénom, that discusses the divide crossing the country in recent years
They fight, they insult each other but they love each other. These are the five stars of Il nome del figlio [+see also:
film profile], a re-interpretation of Le Prénom [+see also:
film profile] by French Alexandre de la Patellière and Matthieu Delaporte that marks the return to cinema of Francesca Archibugi six years on from Questione di cuore [+see also:
film profile]. "We focused on theatrical comedy rather than on film", wrote Francesco Piccolo in the press-book. He is co-screenwriter of the film with the director. A successful play in France which, underlined Archibugi, "had well-designed props that we maintained and to which we added our own flesh and blood". The comedy is aimed at left-wing fifty-year-olds, the Roman director’s category. The story develops over one evening in a rich apartment with a terrace in the capital. Having dinner at the home of the couple Betta (Valeria Golino) and the compulsive tweeter and university professor Sandro (Luigi Lo Cascio) are: Betta’s brother, Paolo (Alessandro Gassman), with his young and beautiful wife Simona (Micaela Ramazzotti) and childhood friend Claudio (Rocco Papaleo). A bold estate agent who votes centre right, Paolo rustles up a joke to challenge the prevailing political correctness in the elegant book-filled apartment: the child in his wife’s womb is to be named Benito. Like Mussolini (in the French original he was Adolf). The joke quickly develops into an argument, and long-standing grudges and settling of old scores resurface, somewhere between Polanski’s Carnage [+see also:
film profile] and Ettore Scola’s La terrazza.
"It seemed like a good opportunity for us to talk about ourselves, about our country, about this divide that has crossed it in the last twenty years", explained Piccolo and Archibugi added: "I wanted these contrasts to describe, as best as possible, a widespread feeling. We told a story, we didn’t judge, we love all the characters. ‘Everyone has their good reason’, as Jean Renoir said”. Although, the only one to be saved by the filmmakers, with a bit of rhetorical complacency, is the character of the young pregnant woman. In the description of the self-same Ramazzotti (whose husband Paolo Virzì co-produces the film with Indiana and Lucky Red), "Simona has various layers: we see her enter as a foolish girl who only thinks about make-up, then we see her second layer, the girl from the working class neighbourhood who argues with the intellectual played by Lo Cascio and finally in her third layer we discover that she has real writing talent and she closes that part of the film with a phrase by Cechov”. Brilliant dialogue, quips enhanced by elegant slow-motion shots that leave space for the actors, in a genuine but impossible attempt to modernize the devastating causticity of traditional Italian comedy.
(Translated from Italian)