I have una cotta – a little crush on Luigi Lo Cascio, born 43 years ago today – Happy Birthday Luigi!
From Palermo, this Italian actor has fought hard against being typecast as the Sicilan criminal that I’m sure he could have played over and again, taking roles as a gay man, a victim of sexual abuse, and a member of the red brigade who kidnapped Aldo Moro. But it was in a little movie theater in Florence, the first time I’d gone to the movies in Itay, that I fell for Luigi, the romantic lead in a movie called “La Vita Che Vorrei” (The Life That I Want). There is a moment in that movie – you know that sort of moment – when the look in the actor’s eyes takes your breath away and you think, “I wish someone looked at me that way. (sigh).
Unfortunately I haven’t found this movie available in PAL/zone 1, but there are other chances to see Luigi in action,maybe the best a 6 hour Italian TV miniseries available on DVD, La Meglio Gioventù – The Best of Youth. The Best of Youth is a big, luxuriously told story, covering everything happening to a family and its country from 1966 to 2000. It’s got a pretty impressive cast, with Luigi, of course, playing one of the main characters, Alessio Boni (Don’t Tell) as his brother, and Jasmine Trinca (The Son’s Room), playing a troubled young woman named Giorgia. It’s probably even more moving for Italians, telling their personal story of the politics and chaos of the era, but it is every bit as compelling for the rest of us.
Six hours sounds like a lot but it’s really not enough, considering I could easily watch 2 or 3 episodes of Madmen or Boardwalk Empire in a row. The Best of Youth is a book you can’t put down, and a bittersweet story that you can’t stop thinking about. And just see if you don’t get a little crush on Luigi LoCascio.