The Chinese proverb says that “the journey is the reward” and that’s been the subject of more than a few movies, the most recent the 2010 Baslicata Coast to Coast.
When four guys who play in a band together decide to go on foot to a music festival, the proverb becomes their reality. It’s decided that they should cross Basilicata from one coast to another with only a wagon and horse to carry their equipment, and an unenthusiastic young woman played by Giovanna Mezzogiorno (La Bestia Nel Cuore) gets roped into going with them to film their trip in a “reality tv” kind of way. She calls it “la cronaca di un anacronismo” (the chronicle of an anachronism) , and at first, sees these guys only as giant losers. As you might suspect, each begins the journey with his own particular problem, and the problems are worked out as they travel.
It’s predictable but still enjoyable. I hadn’t known much about Basilicata, the area of Italy bordering on Campania to the west, Puglia to the north and east, and Calabria to the south, and that’s part of the group’s dilemma. Basilicata is sort of “Nowhereland” (where there is nothing to envy, says the opening song – they don’t even have the mafia) and the characters feel that they are going nowhere in it. It’s a beautiful movie, because Basilcata is beautiful with its arid, mountainous terrain and resembling a little like a sparsely populated Colorado.
One of the reasons Italians liked Basilicata Coast to Coast so much (it won 2 Nasti D’argento awards) is because it’s a pleasant break from all the movies that make southern Italy look like one big war zone full of crime and thugs. And the idea is kind of cool – going someplace on foot just to see if you can do it. But it just wasn’t very interesting. There was no real struggle or courage, nothing startling, just rather obvious scenarios that magically (and not very subtly) provided keys to the characters’ happiness and salvation.
Director: Rocco Papaleo
Writers: Walter Lupo, Rocco Papaleo
Stars: Alessandro Gassman, Paolo Briguglia and Max Gazzè, and Giovanna Mezzogiorno