La Prima Cosa Bella (The First Beautiful Thing)

Italy’s submission to the Oscar and with three awards at 2010 David di Donatello awards plus more at the 2010 Nastri di Argento is a family dramedy that I didn’t enjoyed much for about three quarters of film; is the last half hour when film and story become more interesting and compelling. I think know why, the finale has scenes with characters as adults and adult actors’ performances were more adequate than actors as younger characters.

Paolo Virzi films tell about fortyish Bruno Michelucci who reluctantly returns to his hometown as Ana (marvelously played by Stefania Sandrelli) is very sick with terminate cancer. He abandoned Ana and sister Valeria a long time ago, mainly because he was embarrassed by his mother behavior and the gossip about her that surround him. With Bruno and Ana flashbacks we learn the story of the Michelucci family and how a younger Ana- with her two children- abandons jealous husband to start a life of struggles but high in motherly love and happiness. This is a story of misconceptions, exactly Ana being badly judged by other while she always was a good woman and mother; but also is about Bruno’s reconciliation with her mother and sister.

If you endure three quarters of the film I know you will surely enjoy the last half hour where narrative, performances and style absolutely makes sense and story becomes compelling as well as interesting; but I know that, as some English language reviewers express, non-Italian audiences will tend to find this movie a “heavy-exaggerated melodrama”

It’s hard to understand why this is Italy’s submission to 2010 Oscar as I know there are other movies that have a more universal, well-developed and compelling stories (like Mine Vaganti) or have more international renown actors (like Io Sono L’Amore); but you never know with the Academy that always gives us surprises.

Can’t recommend film that has only one highly positive element, the old songs that made me recall the times when they were popular and that I sang along while watching the movie as I still know the words. Of course the best was Nicola DiBari’s La Prima Cosa Bella!


Watch trailer @MOC

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