In Sollima’s Rome without light. In Venice, ten minutes of applause and standing ovation for «Adagio»


By John

An “intimate and sentimental film”: said by Stefano Sollima, the director of the Romanzo Criminale and Suburra series, of Acab and Sicario, there isn’t much to be confident about, but it’s his new mood and he reaches Venice 80 in competition. AND “Slowly”a story written with Stefano Bises, full of action, chases, blood in a Rome without the Colosseum, all suburbs, dystopian, dirty and noisy, while in the background the Castles burn. A film that received over 10 minutes of applause and standing ovation last night at the premiere in the Sala Grande of the Palazzo del Cinema.

«A gangster movie, a noir – the director tells Ansa – which has fatherhood at its centre, all possible forms of filial love, of relationships between fathers and biological and non-biological children. And yet among old bandits and new criminals who move only for money, among corrupt police, there advances a pure heart, a different, sensitive boy, like those of the new generations, who may be absent-minded, fluid but they are our hope and I give father, I really believe it.” A production by The Apartment, Vision, Alterego (in collaboration with Sky and Netflix) which is so much invested in that it will be released by Vision Distribution for Christmas, on 14 December.

Thanks to the appeal of this director, son of an artist, who grew up on sets and cameras, of a compelling story and in a all star cast with Pierfrancesco Favino, Toni Servillo, Valerio Mastandrea, Adriano Giannini – all physically almost unrecognizable due to script requirements – at the service of protagonist, the young debutant Gianmarco Franchini.
For the magnificent four “an irresistible call” given Sollima’s fame “of making cinema cinema, with demanding, tiring, but powerful sets” they say in chorus. «I’ve already worked a lot with Sollima – says Favino – I’m worried that he considers Adagio the end of his trilogy on Rome because we actors can’t wait for anything else».

An apocalyptic and realistic Rome at the same time, «seen at street level, via Prenestina, via Casilina, the Mandrione, the Tiburtina station, without monuments, little seen cinematically», observes Sollima, a protagonist set in which to recall veterans of the Banda della Magliana who were very powerful and today age badly, the blind Mastandrea, the half-mad Servillo, the desperate Favino.
«They don’t seek redemption because it’s impossible for those criminals, but they try to save the boy», adds Favino who every day on the set to transform himself also physically into the angry, resentful, heartbroken criminal who lost his son in his footsteps, took about five hours.

«I wanted to shoot a story in Rome, close an ideal circle – explains Sollima, evoking Romanzo Criminale and Suburra – but this time there is feeling and hope. I like to talk about human beings, I don’t judge them, I love them all but here in Rome seen as Los Angeles, three criminal legends move hunted by the corrupt policeman Adriano Giannini, ultimately going in one direction, love for a son, in exchange for nothing. In my own way I have become sentimental.”

The first controversy of the festival was sparked by Favino, who made an appeal in defense of Italian cinema and accused the Americans of “cultural appropriation”. At the center of the debate is Michael Mann’s film «Ferrari», in which the actor Adam Driver plays Enzo Ferrari. And it is precisely the choice of the (foreign) cast that makes the actor indignant. «It’s absurd to have Adam Driver act as Drake» and that «in this type of film there aren’t «level Italian actors» involved but «foreigners far from the real protagonists of the stories, starting with the exotic accent. In other eras, Gassman would have done it for Ferrari, but today Driver does it and no one says anything…”. Shortly afterwards comes the response from Andrea Iervolino, CEO of Ilbe and producer of «Ferrari»: «Dear Favino, in the last 30 years Italian cinema has not created a star system recognizable in the world, as it was in Gassman’s timedespite the fact that in the Italian scene there are many actors of excellent professionalism, remaining closed to international collaborations”.