This is the kind of stuff I live for, sharing a really nice movie moment and a collective smile with the #Venezia73 audience at the screening of Roan Johnson’s fun comedy, Piuma. As teenagers Cate and Ferro (Blu Yoshimi Di Martino and Luigi Fedele) maneuver through nine months of teenage pregnancy, we all became increasingly invested in their comical ups and downs and their outcome. In the end, when the emotional stuff started to go down, I could feel us all growing closer.
When’s the last time you were with a movie audience that applauded, repeatedly, during the film? And the applause and cheers afterwards were obviously hugely gratifying to Johnson, who danced up and down the balcony with the cast, basking in the love.
Whether or not it wins anything (it’s in competition for the Golden Lion) shouldn’t matter to him; he’s got a box office hit on his hands. As the consistently goofy Ferro and his (already at this young age) world-weary girlfriend Cate settle unrealistically into their situation, they set off an explosion that cause never-ending shock waves for Ferro’s long-suffering parents. Ferro hasn’t been the easiest child, and this is just one more thing for them to have to deal with; they don’t even seem that surprised (expect when wondering how their son got a nice girl like Cate.)
The true star of the film has to be Ferro’s dad, played by Sergio Pierattini, a father-on-the-verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown, (“Please, just kill me now”).
“Should I tell Cate?” Ferro asks his dad, when he screws up big time with something completely unrelated in the eighth month of pregnancy.
“NO!” Dad tells him, “Don’t tell her, or your mother, or anybody. I wish you hadn’t told me! Next time, just tell me bullshit, like you did when you got suspended from school for five days.”
Perfectly cast, this authentically constructed family is one that will win the hearts of Italian audiences, and hopefully American ones as well.