I worried that Luigi LoCascio, the super serious and ernest actor, might become a director that’s a little too serious and ernest. I told Brian and Lauren that I couldn’t promise that La Citta’ Ideale would be any good and they didn’t even come with me, but I couldn’t have been any more in error; La Citta’ Ideale was fantastic.
Lo Cascio’s first stab at directing is a family affair; he plays the protagonist, his uncle Luigi Maria Burruano plays one of his lawyers (he kept firing them), and his mother is played by Aida Burruano, Lo Cascio’s real mother, who by the way, stole the show. In my favorite scene, she helps her son prepare for his trial with an authenticity that maybe only a real mother could pull off.
Luigi plays a man who moves from his native Palermo to the city he considers ideal, Siena. He’s an architect who is extremely green and has been trying to live without electricity and running water for a year, collecting rain water on his roof, leaving his drivers’ license unused, and generating electricity with a stationary bike. Showering with cold rain water and getting a little cardio to make his shaver work makes him very happy, even if his friends and coworkers consider him an annoying ball buster.
When, on the first night in eight years that he drives a car there’s an accident, or rather, a series of accidents, the ideal city turns on him, throwing him into a judicial system for which he is sorely unprepared; he’s too honest. While he’s only interested in the truth, everyone else advises him to invent one that better suits his circumstances. “The truth is like wind that flows into a box”, one lawyer tells him. When you open that box it never comes out the way it went in.”
La Citta’ Ideale is a surprising (sorry Luigi- I was surprised) roller coaster ride of anxiety, suspense, and laughter, and with it, Luigi Lo Cascio proves himself not only an amazing actor, but also an amazing director. Sorry I doubted you Luigi; this one’s a winner.