As in Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Blind Chance (or its successor, Sliding Doors, if you’re more into Gwyneth Paltrow), Alessandro Aronadio’s One Life, Maybe Two presents the multiple paths a life takes based on the results of one diverging event, in this case a minor car accident. Chance alone determines whether the collision actually happens—will the brakes work or not?—with the aftermath of each outcome leading to two very different lives for Matteo , a gardener and all-around good friend to his buddy Sandro, who he was rushing to the hospital when the fender bender occurs (or nearly occurs). The two timelines share most of the same characters, but the accident displaces relationships, memories, and even personal morals depending on which parallel universe you happen to be in.
Using a plot device as aggressive as split narratives in an independent, non-genre film is quite a gamble for Aronadio; most audiences are skeptical and ready to criticize the usage of such a gimmick, making it a much harder sell for the director, but while One Life, Maybe Two isn’t the strongest or most poignant example of the branching-universes concept, the film develops enough emotion and character to elevate it well beyond a cheap trick.
Open Roads Jonathan Pacheco
Andrea is an intelligent, handsome young man who seems to have everything necessary to succeed. But the world’s infinite possibilities have only confused him. In this disoriented state, he undertakes the novitiate, a period of spiritual training leading to priesthood.
Camerawork takes a giant leap beyond the grungy video look of “Private” to play a strategic role in defining Andrea’s choices. The perfectly balanced, full-frontal shots of the seminary’s high-ceilinged hallways and rows of identical doors suggest the kind of straight-and-narrow life awaiting him as a priest. Lensing by Mario Amura imparts a dreamlike feeling to the mysterious goings-on in the seminary and Francesca Calvelli’s editing is right in step.
VARIETY DEBORA YOUNG
Sabina Guzzanti and her crew interview earthquake victims and experts, unveiling the myth of a perfect management of the emergence. Waste of money, propaganda, alleged corruption are underlined with an open eye on the backstage of a media success story – L’Aquila earthquake management.
A tragic earthquake, shocking corruption and massive abuse of power: Even for Italians accustomed to their country’s scandals, “Draquila — Italy Trembles” is a kick in the gut. Bold satirist and adroit gadfly Sabina Guzzanti starts her new docu by examining the aftermath of an April 2009 quake that devastated the historic city of L’Aquila. Meticulously connecting dots in a clearheaded, noncombative manner, she paints a stark picture of unfettered executive control whose ramifications go far beyond this one disaster. Skedded for local release on only 100 screens, “Draquila” should get expanded publicity thanks to its Cannes berth.
Variety Jay Weissberg
Eighteen-year-old Enzo lives with his family in Secondigliano, a poor suburb of Naples. His father’s sudden death leaves the boy with the difficult task of caring for his mother and sister and Enzo soon finds his path crossed by a series of circumstances and vicissitudes which continually puts his integrity to the test.
Marra sketches the doleful chronicle of a family with no safety net in succinct chapters that convey only the basics, moving fluidly from one passage to the next while allowing the audience to fill in the details. Evolving in carefully measured rhythms vaguely akin to a musical composition and mirrored in camera work and editing, the film shifts between the repetition of Vincenzo’s journeys across town on his moped; bursts of violence such as his mother’s hysteria upon finding her husband dead; the brutalizing, staccato movement of Vincenzo’s boot-camp training; and moments of relative tranquility. The succession of greater and smaller tragedies that strikes the family feels perhaps too unrelenting and dramatically overdetermined, but the director maintains a solemn evenness of tone and a quiet emotional potency despite the potential for heavy-handedness.
Variety David Rooney
A car is heading up towards the Prealps through the hills between Liguria and France. Paolo Masieri, one of the most innovative Italian chefs, has his vegetable garden there, his country house and his herbs. The camera follows him, moving amongst the twigs like a weasel, smelling the moss and the dry chestnut leaves. Paolo drives along the seafront before he meets the morning fishermen, gets the kitchen ready, tells his assistants what they have to do, coordinates the work with Barbara, the wife with whom he runs the restaurant at Sanremo.
An accomplished, experimental use of space and sound coupled with a feast for the eyes comprise “Peasant Cook” a love poem. Guadagnino’s passive camera follows Masieri’s daily routine, silently observing him as he surveys his two realms: land and kitchen. Guadagnino has a talent for revealing unexpected space, and he has a playful way with sound, for example shooting the dining room but eliminating the chatter and foregrounding the sounds of the kitchen instead. His rich overlay of music is nicely juxtaposed with the sounds of nature.
VARIETY JAY WEISSBERG