Vecchi Pazzi, an irreverent comedy on survival
by Muriel Del Don
- LOCARNO 2015: Swiss director Sabine Boss’ film opened the Panorama Suisse section of the latest edition of the Locarno Film Festival in a packed room buzzing with anticipation
Once again this year the Panorama Suisse section of the Locarno Film Festival features a carefully chosen selection of Swiss films in their national and international premieres that shows just how rich, and in some ways, surprising, Swiss film is. Vecchi Pazzi [+see also:
film profile] by Swiss director Sabine Boss, who is originally from the Canton of Aargau, broke the ice by making the room in the Fevi palace laugh with a slightly melancholic and bittersweet comedy.
The melancholy that permeates the latest piece by the Swiss director is not, however, heavy or oppressive. On the contrary, it has a reinvigorating madness to it. After Der Goali bin ig Sabine Boss once again shows her talent for creating light but strong comedies, a perfect mix of light heartedness and subtle irony (with a Swiss touch).
Vecchi Pazzi tackles the delicate issue of old age in a direct and ironic way without, however, falling into the trap of sentimentalism. Vivi Ferrari (played by the talented and engaging Andrea Jonasson) is a diva in the truest sense of the word, passionate but also incredibly capricious and full of herself. Despite her age nothing and no one can keep her off the stage, which has a regenerating effect on her not only physically but mentally too.
Unfortunately, despite her unbridled passion for the world of theatre, Vivi’s health is getting worse by the day and her daughter Alexa is forced to have her admitted to a luxurious residential home in the Locarno region. The blow is a harsh one for our cabaret queen, who has to face up to the sad decline of not only her career but her life as an artist too. An unexpected encounter with the mysterious Aldo (Luigi Diberti), who is also a resident at the home in Ticino, changes things, encouraging Vivi to embark on a new and surprising musical adventure with the chorus of elderly people at the clinic in tow.
Sabine Boss won over audiences at Locarno with a comedy full of shining jokes, cutting but with a retro nostalgic feel to them. The delicate topic of old age and the difficulties in living a life that seems to belong to the past is approached by the director with humour but in a way that also shows great clarity of mind, demonstrating how important it is to keep the flame that burns in each of us alive. The latest film of Sabine Boss is also a tribute to the majestic scenery of the Ticino, which seems to reflect the fears but also the new conquests of our drama queen. This is a film that demonstrates that the Swiss film industry is also capable of producing first-class comedies, full of cutting and wholesome Swiss humour.
(Translated from Italian)