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VENICE 2007 Competition

Fallen Heroes: A noir as black as night


Fallen Heroes: A noir as black as night

The first Italian title screened in Competition at the ongoing Venice Film Festival is Paolo Franchi’s Fallen Heroes, a follow-up to his acclaimed debut La spettatrice from 2004.

Whereas the latter film was a film about the inability to love, this new work is, in Franchi’s own words, “about the inability to hate”. This does not mean that the film is a work of pacifism that preaches peace, however. In fact, the director describes the film as “a noir as black as the shadows and the dark of night”.

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Fallen Heroes stars French actor Bruno Todeschini, Swiss actress Irène Jacob and rising Italian star Elio Germano (their nationalities match the three producing countries). Germano plays an intrusive young Italian who insinuates himself into the life of a couple from Geneva living in Turin. It is not clear straight away what he wants, though he seems to know that the man (Todeschini) is in debt, something he hides from his wife (Jacob), just like the fact he has just been told he is sterile.

From this simple premise Franchi spins a complex yarn of unresolved personal matters for the two men; unresolved between themselves but especially between each man and their respective fathers. The film offers ample opportunities for the two male actors to show off their considerable acting chops in numerous close-ups, though Jacob’s character is somewhat sidelined by the script.

Turin and Geneva have an appropriate noir look, often filmed at night and drenched in rain, with what little light there is creating an ever-shifting penumbra beautifully captured by cinematographer Cesare Accetta.

Fallen Heroes (the title is a reference to a painting that appears in the film) was produced by I.T.C. Movie, Bianca Film and Ventura Film, with the collaboration of MiBAC, Rai Cinema and RTI – RTSI (Swiss Television).

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