Paola Cortellesi, a mum with a gun in Gli ultimi saranno ultimi
by Vittoria Scarpa
- The actress plays a dramatic role in Massimiliano’s new film, which will be released in theatres on 12 November. The cast also features Alessandro Gassmann and Fabrizio Bentivoglio
How far would you go to get your job, your dignity, your life back? This is what Massimiliano Bruno asks in his new film, Gli ultimi saranno ultimi [+see also:
film profile] (lit. The Last Will be Last), the story of the desperate nine-month-long journey of a woman who falls pregnant and loses her job as a result. We recently saw a similar scenario played out in dark comedy Ho ucciso Napoleone [+see also:
film profile] (see news article), but here the tone is completely different, as different as this film of Bruno’s is compared to his previous films – Nessuno mi può giudicare [+see also:
film profile], Viva l’Italia [+see also:
film profile], Confusi e felici [+see also:
film profile] – comedies that also have a social dimension, but go for laughs. Gli ultimi saranno ultimi (based on the 2005 piece of theatre of the same name) is instead a bitter, dramatic comedy, an unexpected blow to the stomach. And one which gives Paola Cortellesi, who we’re used to seeing play light-hearted comical characters, an unusual role.
Luciana (played by Cortellesi, who also co-wrote the screenplay and was the sole protagonist of the aforementioned piece of theatre) longs to return to her previous, more simple life by the lake in Anguillara: going on holiday in October because it’s cheaper, enjoying picnics with friends, going to her monotonous factory job. But since she fell pregnant – her biggest dream come true – her world has started falling apart: her employer doesn’t renew her contract, her husband Stefano (Alessandro Gassmann) makes a bad investment, the money starts to run out. As her stomach swells, all the certainties in her life vanish: friendship, love, the promise of being re-hired. The film explores how a normal and honest person can lose control and become dangerous. “There’s a point in the film at which Luciana is going through hell”, explains Bruno, “but it’s not so much the loss of material assets that causes her to snap, but the loss of love and emotional support”.
Acting as a counterpoint to Luciana’s everyday reality is the story of another of life’s ‘stragglers’, policeman Zanzotto (Fabrizio Bentivoglio), who has been transferred in disgrace after being involved in some shady dealings, leaving him despised by his colleagues. He strikes up a loving friendship with a somewhat devious South-American woman(Irma Carolina Di Monte), not realising that the whole town is laughing at him behind his back. Both at work and at home, he can’t seem to do anything right. In the film’s opening scene we see him and Luciana confront one another, guns in hand; the next hour and a half is spent explaining how they got there. Among others, the cast also features Ilaria Spada, Stefano Fresi, and Maria Di Biase.
Bruno talks about this film as an “a smart change of course”, both by himself and on the part of his producers Fulvio and Federica Lucisano: “Everybody advised me to do something easier”, said the director, “but I needed to make this film, as it portrays what I’ve seen around me for years: fragile friends that can withstand anything”. It’s a topic which, ten years on from it making its debut in theatre, is just as relevant today, for a film which greatly resembles reality and looks upon its failing characters with affection and hope: “Our Lord teaches us that the last will come in first… but he didn’t say when”, says Luciana. Perhaps it will be her son who finds out.
(Translated from Italian)