September 1, 2008

Venice. A Perfect Day.

"Chance was one of the major themes of Melania Mazzucco's Italian choral novel A Perfect Day, which has been adapted for the screen by Ferzan Ozpetek," writes Boyd van Hoeij in the Auteurs' Notebook.

A Perfect Day

"But in his more streamlined screenplay, co-written by the dean of Italian screenwriting, Sandro Petraglia, chance takes a back seat to an investigation of families - two families, to be precise; too many for a small movie and not enough for a big ensemble piece."

"Five minutes into the film, you realise it's a bitterly ironic title - this is a very unpleasant day indeed - but I found the story, about a hanging-onto-her-youth mother and her violent cop ex-husband who's stalking her, pretty powerful stuff," writes the Guardian's Andrew Pulver. "Quite why large sections of the audience hated it so much is, frankly, beyond me. Perhaps the gruesome ending had something to do with it; without giving too much away, in case it comes to the London film festival or anything, maybe Italians find intra-family murders especially outrageous? Even stranger, some sections of the auditorium were cheering loudly - when critics talk of a film 'dividing the audience,' this is exactly what they mean."

"Pic's greatest strength is [Isabella] Ferrari, last seen in Quiet Chaos, at last given a role deeper than the hard sexual animals generally tossed her way," writes Jay Weissberg in Variety. "Though she unfortunately isn't allowed to make more of the class differences, thesp still brings depth and a sense of Emma's recent past to the role, above and beyond her scripted lines."

In the Hollywood Reporter, Natasha Senjanovic finds "a plot with too many contrived situations and confrontations... that make little logistical sense and do not help the film lose some its television melodrama feel. To his credit, Ozpetek opts for the implicit rather than the gratuitous in the bloody climax, but ends on a note so disturbing - we know what awaits one of the main characters as she leisurely enjoys an ice cream cone - that it borders on the gruesome."

"This may be Ozpetek's darkest film yet and he doesn't feel completely comfortable with the mood," finds Dan Fainaru in Screen Daily. Still: "Technically as well crafted as most Ozpetek pictures and Fabio Zamarion's images of Rome by night are a highlight."

Camillo de Marco has notes from the press conference for Cineuropa.

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Posted by dwhudson at September 1, 2008 11:10 AM