Nothing reminds you of the sensitive stuff that is more than likely on your phone more than Paolo Genovese’s ‘Perfetti Sconosciuti’ (Perfect Strangers).
When a woman suggests a party game at a dinner party with her husband and five friends, it becomes a game of “chicken” that nobody really wants to play but nobody can say “no” to. It’s a game I surely wouldn’t be interested in playing: Put your cell phone in the middle of the dining room table and share all calls and messages with everyone there. Once it’s suggested, nobody has the guts to admit it’s a bad idea, and all the while, the friends eat, talk, and wait for a lunar eclipse that is looming over the apartment like a cloak of misfortune that’s waiting to engulf every hope for a happy outcome.
What could go wrong? I’ll give you a minute to think about what’s on your “black box”, as Rocco (Marco Giallini) calls it, and if you’d want all of your friends and family to be privy to it. Would you all still be friends at the end of a game like this one?
Perfetti Sconosciuti has not yet been distributed in the USA, but it won a boat load of awards, so it surely will be. STAY TUNED.
2) Freedom doesn’t always mean happiness.
In Vergine Giurata (Sworn Virgin), the story of the sworn virgin, a woman who, for many reasons, decides to renounce her sexuality and live as a man, the happiness is about as bittersweet as it ever gets.
The custom, particular to a very remote, mountainous part of Northern Albania, has its practical advantages for women who need to work (men’s jobs are forbidden to women), for families without boys, when fathers have died, or for women who are simply more comfortable in this role. But bucking the system and going against your family’s traditions and culture takes courage, and as the film’s actress Flonja Kodheli told me, “Freedom doesn’t necessarily mean happiness”.
3) Don’t let disagreements with siblings get out of hand.
As director Francesco Munzi told me, “Anime Nere (Black Souls) isn’t the story of a Mafia war, this is a war within one family”, said Munzi, “with all the cultures and contradictions that are inside all families.”
“It’s a tragedy”, he continued, “and it speaks of emotions and not just crime. I like classic Dostoevsky dramas and I wanted to recreate the visual aspects of the great tragedies.
Without giving away too much about this particular family drama, the lesson is clear: Boundaries are important for healthy sibling relationships. Seriously.
4) Your Mom really can love you to death.
There were early signs of Mina’s mental unbalance; her unwillingness to eat during her pregnancy was clearly something beyond ordinary morning sickness. But starving herself is one thing; starving the baby is another. Hungry Hearts will confirm every meat eater’s suspicion that vegans are evil food haters. As Mina’s phobias and idiosyncrasies grow stronger, Jude withdraws from the world in an attempt to focus on his child and protect him; but from what? Is Mina really trying to kill her child?
5) Sometimes being lazy and stupid pays off.
If you are Checco, it always seems to, anyway!
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