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A CASTLE IN ITALY

SYNOPSIS:
Louise (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) meets Nathan (Louis Garrel). She is able to dream again. This is also the story of her ailing brother, their mother, and the destiny of a wealthy Italian industrialist family. The story of a family that is disintegrating, an era that is ending, and a love that is beginning.

Review by Louise Keller:
There may be some truths in Valeria Bruni Tedeschi's semi auto-biographical film, but it is hard to have much affection for the disparate group of characters who inhabit it. Nominated for the Palme d'or at Cannes in 2013, the title suggests a picturesque Italian interlude, but this comi-drama is far from that. The European atmos with its textured and varied locations is real, yet the action and interaction is not. It plays as a farce, when the subject matter is anything but funny and the juxtapositions, while at times are interesting, never quite gel.

Tedeschi (older sister of singer and former French First Lady Carla Bruni), plays Louise, a 40 something single woman looking for love and desperate to have children. The subplot in which she convinces her younger fun-seeking lover Nathan (Louis Garrel) to participate in artificial insemination, plays most unconvincingly. The scene at the clinic when Louise becomes hysterical about the prospect of being inseminated with the wrong sperm falls badly flat. It may be true that Tedeschi and Garrel had a real-life relationship for some years, but there is little screen chemistry. I did smile however in the scene when he takes her home to meet his parents: his mother is her age and there is a former connection with her father.

The film is split into three seasons - winter, spring and summer - and the action flits from a monastery to a film-set and to the castle of the title, where wages, taxes, insurance and other disasters blow out costs and prompt the need to sell it. There are some good things: the scene that features Cole Porter's My Heart Belongs to Daddy is wonderfully incongruous and Tedeschi's mother Marisa Bruni Tedeschi delivers interesting colours with her emphatic piano playing at various times. There is also a storyline involving Louise's brother Ludovic ((Filippo Timi), who is deteriorating from an AIDS-related illness.

Overall, the film feels self-indulgent and despite the fact there is a lot going on and plenty of hysteria, I found it neither credible nor funny. My House in Umbria this is not. The warm smile of Omar Sharif in a tiny cameo at the London auction is a welcome surprise.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

A CASTLE IN ITALY (MA15+)
(France, 2013)

CAST: Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Louis Garrel, Filippo Timi, Marisa Bruni Tedeschi, Xavier Beauvois, Céline Sallette, Pippo Delbono

PRODUCER: Saïd Ben Saïd

DIRECTOR: Valeria Bruni Tedeschi

SCRIPT: Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Noémie Lvovsky, Agnès de Sacy

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jeanne Lapoirie

EDITOR: Anne Weil

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Emmanuelle Duplay

RUNNING TIME: 104 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sharmill

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 8, 2013







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