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Critique : Flaminia


- La comique de stand-up Michela Giraud se lance dans le cinéma avec une satire sur une certaine bourgeoisie romaine qui se mue en un drame familial très personnel

Critique : Flaminia
Rita Abela et Michela Giraud (à droite) dans Flaminia

Cet article est disponible en anglais.

“They’ll tell you this is a true story: don’t believe them”. This is what the subtitle of Michela Giraud’s first film Flaminia jokingly tells us, a movie which the comedian also stars in and which is hitting Italian cinemas on 1 April via Vision Distribution. As she reveals all on the middle classes in northern Rome – with its carousel of grotesque characters, snobs and nouveau riche country bumpkins – and on one woman’s relationship with a tricky sister, the 36-year-old Italian stand-up comedian whose star is rising fast (via TV programmes, film roles, and a Netflix special) blends fiction and reality, and makes a point of not specifying what’s true and what’s not.  

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Northern Rome, that is, the well-to-do neighbourhoods in Rome, populated by lawyers, notaries and plastic surgeons, is the “happy place” in which our protagonist, Flaminia (Giraud), kicks about, but in reality she’s a fish out of water. Hailing from a wealthy family, she does everything she can to seem like her friends - who are filthy rich, obsessed with physical appearances and never with a hair out of place – and, essentially, to be deserving of Alberto (Edoardo Purgatori) who’s the son of an important diplomat and her betrothed. Their marriage is of vital importance to Flaminia’s parents (Antonello Fassari and Lucrezia Lante della Rovere, for whom “slovenliness is a crime”) who see it as an unmissable opportunity for social climbing.

As their wedding day draws nearer, Flaminia does everything she can to avoid making a bad impression on her incredibly severe, future in-laws (Andrea Purgatori, in her final film appearance, and a glacial Nina Soldano). But just when everything seems good to go, Flaminia’s sister (Rita Abela) bursts back into her life, a corpulent girl who has Autistic Spectrum Disorder and who has grown up in a therapeutic community, from which she’s been temporarily evicted for setting fire to a mattress: in other words, a wholly unpresentable sister.

Ludovica is a loose cannon who eats a shedload of carbs, who makes eyes at her future brother-in-law and who never misses an opportunity to grab a microphone and scream out a song. Obviously Flaminia’s friends are horrified and her future in-laws equally so. Flaminia can only wait for the time when she can take her sister back to her community, but in the meantime she tries to contain, hide and disown her. Ultimately, however, it will be this very problematic, instinctive and unadulterated sister who ultimately opens our protagonist’s eyes and makes her see just how hypocritical the world she’s trapped in and her future marriage really are.

Flaminia allows Giraud to flaunt her sharp comic talent when it comes to depicting a given social environment, but it subsequently takes the form of an intimate drama which encourages empathy in the audience. Arguably, the divide between the first and second half of the movie, and the jump from one register to another, is too abrupt. What’s more, given the author’s particular brand of sarcasm – whose stand-up routines have, at times, been accused of excessive vulgarity – we would have expected a few more laughs, but, ultimately, Flaminia is a comedy which takes itself very seriously, which was probably inevitable given the delicate and personal subject-matter in question.

Flaminia is produced by Eagle Original Content and Pepito Produzioni in collaboration with Vision Distribution and Prime Video.

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(Traduit de l'italien)

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