Fräulein, the ill-tempered tamed by Christian De Sica
by Camillo De Marco
- The king of ‘Christmas films’ stars alongside Lucia Mascino in a comedy with light and slightly surreal tones, directed by newcomer Caterina Carone
Christian De Sica, the king of ‘Christmas films’, films offering cheap comedy, stars in a comedy with light and slightly surreal tones. It’s newcomer Caterina Carone’s successful debut fictional feature, which follows on from her many award-winning documentaries. The film is called Fräulein - Una fiaba d'inverno [+see also:
film profile],and opened the 30th edition of the Bolzano Film Festival Bozen. Produced by Carlo Cresto Dina’s Tempesta Film with Rai Cinema, the film was released today with Videa.
Starring alongside De Sica is Lucia Mascino, who is most well-known for successful TV series Una mamma imperfetta, written and directed by Ivan Cotroneo (Un bacio [+see also:
film profile]), but also has extensive experience in theatre, which started with Giorgio Barberio Corsetti and culminated in working with Filippo Timi. Lucia Mascino is the Fräulein of the title, a character whose name is Regina but goes by ‘Miss’ as she is a cantankerous forty-year-old with no husband or children who owns a hotel that closed down years ago in a village tucked away in the Dolomites. Regina actually has a heart of gold, helping the elderly and happily playing gin rummy with her friends Hanna and Nina (played by German actresses Therese Hämer and Irina Wrona). The surreal touch is added by an impending solar storm, announced on the radio and TV, which, in addition to the threat of blackouts, causes some of the members of the local community to start acting strangely. Cue the arrival from Rome of mysterious and bundled up tourist Walter Bonelli, who is kind and amiable and determined to stay at Regina’s hotel at all costs. Thus begins a sort of delicate duel between the bad-tempered Fräulein, who doesn’t take guests, and the amiable and confused Walter, which gradually turns into friendship. Each of the two hides a secret, and Walter’s is tied to old memories that are in turn tied to that place.
With light quips, comical scenarios (which often also involve Regina’s lover the postman, played by Max Mazzotta), demure direction and a screenplay that only seems to lose control every now and again, with a few non-essential scenes and a narration that does more damage than good, Fräulein - Una fiaba d'inverno is a film to go and see with the whole family.
The film received support during its pre-production and production stages from the BLS - Film Fund & South Tyrol Commission (since 1 January 2016 the IDM Südtirol – Alto Adige), which oversaw and assisted with filming, all of which took place locally, on the Renon plateau to be precise, over seven weeks. But what’s interesting is that the storyline for the film was written and developed by Caterina Carone during the inaugural edition of RACCONTI, the annual Script Lab held by the Film Fund & South Tyrol Commission, which the director participated in as a writer. The storyline was then presented to a group of producers in a pitch organised by the Film Commission itself, and was selected by Carlo Cresto-Dina’s company Tempesta, which produced it with Rai Cinema. When she was writing the screenplay, Caterina Carone imagined a story set a stone’s throw from Bolzano, on the Renon plateau; a place that would help to give the film the characteristic atmosphere of suspense that its two protagonists move around in.
(Translated from Italian)