When a young man played by Daniele Parisi wakes up with an irritating ringing in his ears and a message taped to the refrigerator saying “your friend Luigi is dead”, he sets out to make the ringing stop and figure out who Luigi is. Filmed in black and white, Orecchie is like a daytime version of “After Hours” with an unnamed Roman guy on a goofy scavenger hunt for answers, all the while sinking into the depths of the kind of absurdity we all face on a day-to-day basis. The airhead fast food clerk, the distracted receptionist, the arrogant professionals; we all hate “those people” even if we’re one of “those people” too and we don’t realize it. Unlike in the movie After Hours, however, one that is portrays a world that is often “weird for weird’s sake”, Orecchie offers method in the madness.
Orecchie is classically dark humor with a postmodern hero who has grown world-weary. Unlike Jep Gambardella in Paolo Sorrentino’s La Grande Bellezza, one who allows himself to be occasionally amused by the “blah, blah, blah” swirling around him, or at least not let it drive him crazy, the guy in Orecchie is beaten down by it. The ringing in his ears is a symptom of some degree of depression.
I can’t stop thinking about the cheerless protagonist, lost in a vapid abyss and seems to have stopped caring about finding his way out. What’s the use? He’s in a genuinely despondent state, and yet, after spending the day with him, I felt oddly optimistic. Was this the intent of writer/director Alessandro Aronadio, to make me feel better about life? I believe that Orecchie will strike the same chord with everyone who watches it.
Maybe it was the nun’s observation that his girlfriend’s smile didn’t turn up enough at the corners that began to wake him up from his Kafkaesque nightmare, or maybe he was just tired of being bored, but Alessandro Aronadio’s “guy” is willing to entertain the idea that he’s been mistaking compromise for acceptance, and that rolling his eyes at all of the “dumb” people in the world “doesn’t make him more intelligent, just more unhappy.”
Stars: Daniele Parisi, Francesca Antonelli, Silvana Bosi, Silvia D’Amico, Piera Degli Esposti, Ivan Franěk, Sonia Gessner, Paolo Giovannucci, Rocco Papaleo, Andrea Purgatori, Niccolò Senni, Pamela Villoresi, Milena Vukotic and Massimo Wertmüller,