Beata ignoranza: A family reborn from social networks
by Camillo De Marco
- Massimiliano Bruno broaches the issue of changing interpersonal relationships in the Internet era with irony, in a film starring Marco Giallini and Alessandro Gassman
Massimiliano Bruno, who has always dedicated himself, as a director and screenwriter, to observing interpersonal relationships and changes, uses Beata ignoranza [+see also:
film profile] to broach an increasingly common issue in film, “social consumerism": the changes brought about by the digital era in the way we keep ourselves informed, cultivate relationships, and work. As always, he does so using the canons of comedy, with an irony that isn’t entirely subtle but isn’t malicious either, highlighting just how good Facebook can be.
Produced by IIF with Rai Cinema, and being distributed by 01 Distribution in 300 copies, Beata ignoranza centres around two high school teachers, Ernesto (Marco Giallini) and Filippo (Alessandro Gassman). The former, the only man on the planet to still use a Nokia phone from 1995, is proud of the fact that his has absolutely nothing to do with the Internet, whilst Filippo has a strong online presence, a total ladies man both on and off social networks. The students obviously love him for this. "Smartphones are an extension of your brains", Filippo tells his students.
The two teachers know each other well, having both been involved in the past with the same woman, Marianna (Carolina Crescentini), who died in an accident. Marianna’s daughter, Nina (played by an impressive Teresa Romagnoli in her acting debut), suddenly reappears, now a 25-year-old woman. She was raised for the first 18 years of her life by Ernesto, but is actually the fruit of her mother’s betrayal with Filippo.
Nina has been commissioned by a producer to film a documentary to be released in the United States on “changing interpersonal relationships in the Internet era”. So she proposes that her two “dads” swap roles: one will live completely offline for a few days, whilst the other must learn how to use the Internet and social networks. This idea of an exchange of roles is nothing new, but has been highly effective in comedies since Plautus’ days. What follows is the same effect that Nanni Moretti stages so brilliantly in Caro diario, in which a highly intellectual and serious scholar studying James Joyce gets hooked on television soap Beautiful.
But when all is said and done, for the director Facebook is just the starting point for analysing the father(s)-daughter relationship and comparing two generations, although the second part of the film does not go into as much depth as the first, despite Bruno’s unquestionable narrative and comic talent. Beata ignoranza is confirmation that contemporary comedies are still the best indicator of the state of a country, but without the ruthless grandeur of those of the past.
(Translated from Italian)