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FILMS / REVIEWS Italy / France

Review: Governance

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- An Italian-French co-production available exclusively on Amazon Prime Italy, Michael Zampino signs his name to a solid film noir on the price of power, starring an unscrupulous Massimo Popolizio

Review: Governance
Massimo Popolizio and Vinicio Marchioni in Governance

“I’ll take you all down with me”. Asked to step aside by his own board, Renzo Petrucci, the CEO of the oil company at the heart of Michael Zampino’s Governance [+see also:
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, displays the rage of a man who refuses to lose power, the fury of a person prepared to do anything to claw it back and the face of a spot-on Massimo Popolizio, who brilliantly conveys the animalistic nature of this money-hungry character consumed by ambition. Following on from L’erede [+see also:
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, this second work sees the Italian-French director venturing inside a universe with which he is more than a little familiar: the oil industry, a sector in which he himself worked for fifteen years. And Zampino’s experience shows, in the film, as he explores the tricks of the trade and the dynamics involved in rigged contracts, lucrative petrol stations and motorways created ad hoc, amidst a tangle of political and economic interests and personal desires, all forming the backdrop to a police investigation into a mysterious car crash.

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It is this road traffic accident which sets the film in motion, a movie written by the director alongside Giampaolo G Rugo and Heidrun Schleef (The Son’s Room [+see also:
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, Remember Me [+see also:
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, The Caiman [+see also:
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interview: Jean Labadie
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). Enraged, Renzo chases and rams a car carrying a woman off the road. The woman is left in helpless agony amidst the wreckage. What follows is the tale of what came before and what comes after this tragic event. The former sees Renzo removed from his post as the CEO of a multinational oil company following a corruption investigation, at the very time he’s manoeuvring to entrust the management of a profitable motorway petrol station to his old mechanic friend Michele (Vinicio Marchioni). Replaced by young French manager Viviane (Sarah Denys) who intends to bring about an ecological shift within the company’s policies, Renzo harbours a grudge against this “fucking environmentalist in crocodile shoes” who took his job away from him, and subsequently loses his head. The aftermath, by contrast, sees Renzo slowly take back what is his, by way of ruthlessness, key friendships and in-depth knowledge of the trade. Meanwhile, Michele, who was in the car with Renzo at the time of the crash, wrestles with guilt and wants to give himself up, and a scrupulous police inspector (Sonia Barbadoro) attempts to reconstruct the strange circumstances surrounding the accident which caused the young manager to lose her life.

A pitiless portrayal of mankind’s thirst for power and of human ambition, which even overpowers humble mechanic Michele – after agreeing to keep quiet for his own personal gain, i.e. a swish petrol station replete with a four-brush car wash, he tries to blackmail Renzo into giving him more – Governance is a solid and compact film with its 89-minute running time, in which each and every scene is put together with a precise aim in mind and adds further nuance to those which have gone before. Renzo and Michele are two sides of the same coin: both are of modest backgrounds, the former has made it, the latter not so much. But despite starting out with the best of intentions, Michele swiftly follows the cynical and careerist example set for him by his “teacher”. He, too, becomes a shark, and in this film whose happy ending runs only skin deep, everyone ends up satisfied, enjoying their own slice of the pie.

Produced by Italian firms Panoramic Film and Alba Produzioni and French outfit Loin Derrière L'Oural, Governance has been available for exclusive streaming on Amazon Prime Italy since 12 April, distributed by Adler Entertainment.

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(Translated from Italian)

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