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VENICE 2016 Competition

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Piuma: Becoming parents at 18


- VENICE 2016: Roan Johnson’s film is a teen comedy about a couple of 18-year-olds from the suburbs of Rome who find out they have a baby on the way

Piuma: Becoming parents at 18
Blu Yoshimi and Luigi Fedele in Piuma

As light and simple as its title, Piuma [+see also:
film profile
by Roan Johnson is the second Italian movie screened in competition at the Venice Film Festival. It is a teen comedy about a couple of 18-year-olds from a suburban area of Rome, Tuscolano, who find out that they have a baby on the way.

The high-school exams are just a few days away, and the obligatory trip to Spain and Morocco with friends has already been organised. But Ferro (Luigi Fedele) and Cate (Blu Yoshimi) won’t be going. She is pregnant, and no one is prepared for the big event. Her father, Alfredo (Francesco Colella), a goofball who only just manages to get by, certainly isn’t, and nor are Ferro’s parents (Michela Cescon and Sergio Pierattini), as they constantly bicker over the best thing to do. While it’s true that Cate sees the pregnancy as a bid for freedom, an escape route from a stifling reality, Ferro doesn’t even know how to look after a hamster (which he is reminded of by his grandfather, played by Bruno Squeglia), and has a penchant for marijuana and quickies with other women. And the idea of finding a job hasn’t crossed his mind either. As the months go by and the birth of this little girl who is to be called Piuma gradually draws nearer, the situation becomes even more difficult, and the idea of giving the child up for adoption seems more of an option. But that’s not how things will pan out.

Aimed at a teenage, or slightly older, audience, with gags primarily based on regional comedy, this film by Johnson (The First on the List [+see also:
film review
film profile
, Fino a qui tutto bene [+see also:
film review
film profile
) stays blissfully superficial throughout and bobs along like a rubber duck (which is a metaphor used regularly in the film) without attempting even the slightest dialogue on the responsibility of becoming an adult. After all, not everyone has access to screenwriters like Diablo Cody, the blogger who penned the little gem that was Juno. Produced by SKY Cinema and Palomar in conjunction with Unipol, Piuma is very likely to do well at the box office when it comes out on 20 October, courtesy of Lucky Red. But the question remains: what on Earth is it doing in competition at the Venice Film Festival, duking it out next to films by Wenders, Kusturica, Malick, Ozon and Larrain?

(Translated from Italian)

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