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VENICE 2007 Venice Days

Don’t Think About It’s crowd-pleasing debut

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It took over ten minutes for the applause, hugs and congratulations to die down before the Q&A could begin after the official screening of Don’t Think About It [+see also:
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(Non pensarci) by Gianni Zanasi, last seen on the Lido in 1999 with Until Tomorrow. And who better to present this sparkling comedy to the packed cinema than the king of the “commedia all’italiana,” Mario Monicelli, who spoke at length on the film’s virtues.

Although centered on, to quote Zanasi, “the wonderful imbecile” Stefano – a magnificently understated Valerio Mastandrea as a 35 year-old failed punk rock musician who returns to his hometown from Rome after catching his girlfriend cheating on him – the film plays like an ensemble piece, in which the entire cast shines (including Giuseppe Battiston, Anita Caprioli, Dino Abbrescia and Paolo Briguglia).

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A prodigal son who accuses everyone of putting up a bourgeois front, Stefano returns to discover that his family is falling apart (his older brother is running the family business into the ground, his sister has dropped out of university to work with dolphins, his mother has thrown herself into New Age classes and his father plays golf all day) and that perhaps he least of all is capable of handling the various skeletons that slowly but surely emerge from everyone’s closets.

Zanasi, who co-wrote the script with Michele Pellegrini, says that in writing the film they followed their instincts and allowed themselves total freedom. As for the cast, made up of some of Italy’s most prominent young actors, he held numerous auditions until “someone clicked, like in pinball when you hit the ball just right.” When asked if the story was at all autobiographical, Mastandrea quickly jumped in before the director could answer and said, “Yes! Believe me, you can see that after talking to him for just half an hour.”

This “gently punk” film, as Zanasi describes it, also features a dynamic soundtrack, which ranges from music from La Traviata and contemporary groups such as Les Fauves and Merci Miss Monroe, all of which punctuate its blend of a family comedy with modern-day angst.

Producer/editor Rita Rognoni of Pupkin Production, which co-produced along with ITC Movie, pointed out that the film was also made with broadcaster La7 (for whom this marks their first cinema outing) and not RAI or Mediaset.

Shot in just seven weeks, according to producer Beppe Caschetto Don’t Think About It has already secured an Italian distributor but “seeing as how they just now saw the film, if they don’t love it we’ll go with someone else. That was our condition.” Caschetto says they are aiming for an autumn or early 2008 release.

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