A highlight for me at the Venice Film Festival this past summer was the screening of Missione di Pace – Peace Mission, with Silvio Orlando, Alba Rohrwacher, Francesco Brandi, and Filippo Timi, a film that hit Italian movie theaters last week. The whole cast was at the screening and answered questions afterwards ; I was in heaven. Silvio Orlando has been a favorite of mine for years, Alba Rohrwacher is certainly one of Italy’s top two or three actresses, and Filippo Timi – have I mentioned how very good-looking he is? He’s surely one of the finest actors working today, in Italy or otherwise.
The more I think about it, the more appreciate the extraordinary effort by new director Francesco Lagi, a guy who may end up a trailblazer in Italian comedy. There’s so much to admire here:
First, the cast, with veteran Orlando, who can do funny or drama effortlessly, Rohrwacher, who is not know for her comedy but is obviously a natural, Timi, who really steals the show with his silly Che Guevara, and the young Francesco Brandi as the perfect little shit of a problem child for his father, the military captain. Another nice touch, the Italian pop star Bugo plays a guitar-playing soldier and has created music for the soundtrack.
The theme is not what I expected, and probably not what anyone did. Not exactly the anti-war film it might have been, and yet not at all not an anti-war movie, I found myself, a decidedly anti-war gal, somehow rooting for the military and pissed off at the young peacenik. It just challenges everybody’s perception of everything, and in funny way. Try doing that at home.
And it really is funny: With the inflexible and idealistic young anarchist trying to ruin his father’s military career and having adventures with his pretend friend, Che Guevara, it’s all pretty hilarious. Orlando plays the perfect straight man as his world grows progressively out of control.
It’s just cool – and very stylishly filmed – and it’s not at all sentimental. It’s the new Italian comedy, with sarcasm and a sense of irony that we didn’t used to see in Italian movies. I have no idea if this will make it to the US, but if you get the chance, see it.