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ROME 2018

Review: In viaggio con Adele

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- Rome Film Fest's pre-opening film is an original on-the-road comedy that could have done more to embrace its autistic protagonist

Review: In viaggio con Adele
Sara Serraiocco in In viaggio con Adele

The beginning of In viaggio con Adele [+see also:
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– the debut feature by the young Alessandro Capitani and the pre-opening film at Rome Film Fest – is somewhat upsetting. We are in the Pugliese countryside, where a sixty-something-year-old woman is celebrating her birthday with relatives. However, as she goes to blow out the candles on her birthday cake, she suffers a fatal heart attack and dies. Her twenty-five-year-old daughter, dressed in pink bunny-coloured pyjamas, sticks a post-it note on her chest, it reads: "dead mum." An attack reminiscent of Gummo – the cult film by Harmony Korine, which features a little girl who goes around wearing long rabbit ears. Played by Sara Serraiocco, the film's protagonist has Asperger's syndrome, has never met her father and is now forced to fend for herself. 

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We venture a little further into the Pugliese countryside, where the theatre actor Aldo Leone (Alessandro Haber) is playing Cyrano de Bergerac on stage. The two protagonists soon cross paths given that Aldo is Adele’s father. They take to the road together to look for a place to host Adele as Aldo needs to travel to Paris, where an audition for the next film by the director Patrice Leconte awaits him. In actual fact, the two protagonists are on a mission to find for each other. The old actor is a hypochondriac egoist who sleeps with his agent (Isabella Ferrari) because he’s lonely, while his young daughter only needs love to alleviate her – as she calls it – “neuro-diversity.” And because she's autistic, not stupid, she clearly explains to Aldo that he’s "afraid of living, not dying." Their road trip to a care home in Frosinone becomes the perfect excuse for a series of tribulations in this buddy movie, as well as a few more or less successful gags ("I haven't eaten fish since I watched The Little Mermaid.")

Produced by Paco Cinematografica with the French outfit Denis Friedman Productions in collaboration with Vision Distribution, the comedy is original but fails to embrace a missed opportunity by not going the whole hog with this "special" woman, choosing instead to utilise her as a larger-than-life character as a means of keeping the film light-hearted. In viaggio con adele comes out in Italian cinemas on 18 October.

(Translated from Italian)

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