Review: Dog Years
- Fabio Mollo directs a funny young adult comedy starring the talented young rising star Aurora Giovinazzo, a colourful, inclusive and slightly crazy film
Stella is almost 16, but feels 112. After a bad trauma, she started counting her years like a dog, each year counting as seven. That is why, before her next birthday, the day she is convinced she will die, she has decided to burn all bridges and do everything worth doing in this life. She has a month to go... and the list is long. If the premise is already tantalising in itself, the fact that Stella is played by the talented young star on the rise Aurora Giovinazzo (seen in Venice in Gabriele Mainetti's Freaks Out [+see also:
interview: Gabriele Mainetti
film profile]), and if you add well-constructed dialogue and characters, visual quality and unbridled pace, all this makes Dog Years, the first Amazon Original Italia title presented as a Special Event at Alice nella città at the 16th Rome Film Festival, a brilliant and enjoyable film for both young and adult audiences.
Written by 30-year-old screenwriting duo Mary Stella Brugiati and Alessandro Bosi, this hilarious young adult comedy is directed by Fabio Mollo (South is Nothing [+see also:
interview: Miriam Karlkvist
film profile], the Curon [+see also:
series profile] series). Stella is a young girl rich in imagination but tormented, disillusioned, who is uncomfortable both with her peers, for whom she is invisible, and with her family: her mother (Sabrina Impacciatore), who is always in the clouds, and her sister (Romana Maggiora Vergano), the “perfectionist." Her only two companions in her adventures are outcasts like her: Nina (Isabella Mottinelli) is the sweet and wise friend who dispenses advice and idealises love; Giulio (Luca Maria Vannuccini), with his pink hair and passion for photography, is more down-to-earth and straightforward.
On the list of things to do before dying - a list that includes, among other things, having a social life, drawing a graffiti (even an ugly one), milking a cow, doing something rich, getting a job interview... - there is also, of course, losing her virginity. The unsuspecting accomplice designated for this goal is Matte (Federico Cesari, star of Skam Italia), a boy who has everything to be the school playboy, but is instead shy, a bit awkward, "slow" and an unsuspected expert in cross-stitch embroidery. As is to be expected, the relationship between the two will go far beyond the simple item to be ticked off the list, less predictable is the fact that it will not be the romantic strand that will be the focus of the story: the film has its share of drama that blends well with everything else, and the end result is a varied, colourful and inclusive fresco of the joys and sorrows of an unusual teenager, which also features Valerio Mastandrea in a brief but very significant cameo.
"I didn't just want to attend parties, I wanted to have the power to make them fail” is Jep Gambardella's famous line in The Great Beauty [+see also:
interview: Paolo Sorrentino
film profile], and Stella seems to take it literally when, in one of the funniest scenes, she gives up all inhibitions and throws a perfect birthday party - complete with a private concert by Achille Lauro, who also wrote a new song for the film - by venting all her irrepressible anger on the birthday girl. The film's soundtrack is a must, featuring artists much loved by young people (Blanco, Coez, Ariete, to name but a few). Finally, a mention must go to the costumes (by Sara Fanelli): the "royal Amazon flycatcher" one is irresistible.
Produced by Amazon Studios and Notorious Pictures, Dog Years will be available on Amazon Prime Video in Italy from 22 October and in over 240 countries and territories worldwide from 26 November.
(Translated from Italian by Manuela Lazic)
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