on 20 June 2011
I am not going to add to much of what has already been said in the previous reviews, but to say that this was truly remarkable entertainment. The story was fresh as was the approach to a sensitive subject, and whilst the comic relief provided much entertainment it was the story itself which resonated with me. Two brothers are gay, yet social mores and a conservative (albeit aggressively ignorant) father demand that they be as he envisages success. They must marry, have children, and carry on the family business, whilst establishing the family name and influence in the community in which they live.
The younger of the two decides to break with that tradition and sets in motion a series of events, that results in the most unexpected consequences, although the reactions of his parents and the community are entirely familiar. The twist in the tail cannot be discussed in that much detail without spoiling the plot for those that wish to watch this movie, so all I will say is that this is a tale of two brothers parodied against the hypocrisy of their family. The father that seeks to pass judgment, is himself morally compromised and his own extra-marrital affairs finds no discourse in his understanding of right or wrong. Similarly his wife finds both the substance and strength to tolerate such infidelity but cannot do the same for the sons she loves.
The grandmother stands apart of a picture of moral fibre, having learnt a valuable lesson in her youth. She will not judge except for those actions she deems to be beneath a man's dignity, and honourably stands with her grandsons on several issues. her character reminds me so much of the noble mother in "The Best Day of My Life" which is also centered around the family matriarch, and the 'coming out' of several family members in very different ways.
Well worth the money spent, and the time spent watching.
on 20 April 2011
This is a fine social comedy set in an Italian provincial town which treats its subject/ situation in a thoroughly adult way. There are many key moments when the film could have gone so wrong - veered off into farce or cliche - but the director's touch is assured, the script spot on and the cast uniformly excellent. As the tale unfolds, you become totally involved with the characters and their problems, and - poetry aside -it is no exaggeration to say this has the same feel as a mature Shakespearian comedy - Much Ado About Nothing comes to mind.
Especially memorable scenes are: the family meal for the 'prodigal son', the unexpected arrival of his gay friends from Rome, the subtly handled funeral / final wedding which make the climax of the story. As in Shakespeare, the film moves effortlessly from high comedy to drama to quiet thoughtful moments and back to wry humour, which produces a fully satisfying experience. Though there is a resolution of sorts at the end, as in the best comedies, this reverberates long afterwards. Don't be put off by the subtitles - I lived in a provincial Italian town for a year but had to read these in places - the setting and characters carry conviction and at second viewing it gets even better.
In sum -quite the best comic film I've seen in a long while, with a rare ensemble performance which raises it way above the ordinary. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
on 3 January 2011
Set in the Puglia region of Italy's deep south, the Turkish-born director's Loose Cannons is a light-hearted but considerate outing filled with unabashed passion and affection for its characters and story. Touching on themes of family, love, sexual identity, prejudice and bigotry, Ozpetek's latest fare is both heartfelt and heart-warming, dipping a comedic toe into the oft-told tale of a young man coming to terms with who he really is.
Tommaso (Riccardo Scamarcio) is the youngest child in the large and very eccentric Cantone family. His mother Stefania (Lunetta Savino), is loving and caring, but trapped by bourgeois conventions; while his father, Vincenzo (Ennio Fantastichini), has dangerously high expectations of his children and is just as trapped by his own fears and prejudices. Then there's Tommaso's aunt, the eccentric Luciana (Elena Sofia Ricci); his own sister, the frustrated and overlooked Elena; and his brother, Antonio, who works with their father at the family's pasta factory. Keeping a watchful eye over all of them, though, is the `loose cannon', Tommaso's wise and ever-compassionate grandmother.
Summoned back to the homestead from Rome, Tommaso returns for a family dinner where his father intends to hand over the family business to him and Antonio. Tommaso has other ideas though, wanting nothing to do with the business and hoping to strike out on his own as a writer. Not willing to stop there, he decides to go one better by confronting his family with the fact that he is gay.
That evening, however, his plans of revelation are thwarted by Antonio, who interrupts with an announcement of his own. Antonio's news is no less startling and results in their father suffering a heart attack at the dinner table. Not wanting to risk his father's health further, Tommaso decides to hold back on his announcement. Unfortunately, and as a result of his silence, Tommaso finds himself dragged into everything he hoped to avoid.
What ensues is warm, hilarious and in turn considerate and serious. Forced to run the family business while his father recovers, Tommaso is torn between feelings of family loyalty and those of love and affection for his partner and friends back in Rome. Adding to his confusion is the eccentric and isolated Alba, played by the disarmingly beautiful Nicole Grimaudo. Helping Tommaso come to terms with who he is and what his responsibilities are, Alba struggles herself as she finds herself falling for a man she know she can't have .
Things get even more confused when Tommaso's boyfriend, Marco, and his gay friends, arrive at the family home, running the risk of exposing Tommaso's secret before he's ready. Providing for some of the funniest moments in the film, Marco's entourage also prompt some of the more heart-warming scenes, as Tommaso struggles between what he wants to do and what he should do.
As a film, Loose Cannons is clearly an improvement for Ozpetek as a writer and as a director, with his previous offerings being lacklustre at best. His direction and writing this time round are spot-on thoughout, and finally realise his potential as a masterful and innovative filmmaker.
The same can be said about the cast, with each performance delivering exactly what the respective character warrants and deserves. All involved bring startlingly authentic turns and add the extra weight that the film asks for in a narrative this size. Of particular note are Riccardo Scarmarcio as Tommaso and Nicole Grimaudo as Alba, with their confused relationship providing some of the strongest scenes in the film. Also worth mentioning are the hilarious performances by Ennio Fantastichini as the bigoted and terrified Vincenzo, and by Elena Sofia Ricci as the eccentric Luciana; both characters serve up some of the most laugh-out-loud moments on screen.
The most memorable performance, though, comes from Crescenza Guarnieri (veteran TV actress Ilaria Occhini) as Tommaso's grandmother. It's this character, and Guarnieri's portrayal of her, on which the film hangs. Her patience, wisdom, passive understanding and love for her family and their foibles are what gives the film its heart. The `loose cannon' among a battalion of fiery and extremely volatile characters, the grandmother is the one who gives this film its purpose and gives the audience the rewards it is promised.
Although a very Italian film, its themes and subjects are universal, having been told many times over. Not that this is a hindrance - far from it, as Ozpetek squeezes worthwhile mileage from the `coming out' story. Although this is a storyline and subject on which the film focuses heavily, it is not the film's central theme. At its core, Loose Cannons is a film about following what you love; each character is confronted with their heart's most secret desires and what they really want out of life - do they follow their hearts and do what they really want? Or do they hesitate and do what tradition and family dictate?
Finding out is what makes this film fun. Michael Burgess
I had meant to catch this at the cinema when Peccadillo brought it out, but sadly missed it. This is one of those films that comes along far too rarely and when it does, you remember what the magic of cinema really is. This is set in Paloma, where a rich family of pasta makers, are going through a change. The patriarch wants to hand the reins of the very profitable business over to his two sons.
The elder Antonio has stayed to run the factory and put his life on hold for the goodness of the family. His younger brother Tomasso (Riccardo Scamarcio), has been in Rome allegedly studying business, whilst actually indulging his love of literature instead. That is one of his loves, the other happens to be a man. He tells Antonio the night before the surprise family dinner where all is to be handed over, that he will come out the following night. Antonio tries to talk him out of it, all to no avail.
The following night though Antonio surprises everyone by coming out first! The ruddy cheek - and their father quite literally has a fit. He banishes Antonio claiming all he now has left is Tomasso.
That is the stage setting for a wonderfully crafted film, of love jealousy, envy, bigotry and life. All of the characters are developed and all get their time in the lime light - even the maids. That is one aspect of Director Ozpetek's attitude I really like. The `loose cannon' is a reference to Tomasso's Grand Mother, she is the all knowing and understanding heart of the family. She has the sort of advice that you just don't get any more - like "If you always do what others want, life is not worth living".
There is so much going on from the alcoholic aunt, the looked over sister, the ageing mistress of their father and the towns relentless gossip, that the pace never lets up. It gets even better when Tomasso's boyfriend and close mates all turn up to make sure he is ok.
This is one of the most human and touching yet funny films I have seen in a while, whilst it is gay themed it is really about relationships and family prejudices based on what the neighbours might say. It is in Italian with excellent sub titles and is a must for any fan of World cinema, oh and as it's Italian it is totally stylish too- can not recommend highly enough.
on 5 June 2011
'Fingerlicking good' is how I'd like to rate 'Loose Cannons'. I enjoyed the storyline, the individual characters, the sheer craftmanship of the cast and director, the sundrenched scenery of the Italian countryside, the touching score etc etc. And I got it's message alright. Nanna's ghost couldn't have put it better at the end, something along the lines of 'follow your heart's desire and you'll be lucky'. A platitude if ever I heard one, but this came in a glitzy box tied with a velvet bow. However, I considered the culinary delights on offer here streets ahead of any of the assets I mentioned before. Tables, laden with all kind of pies, meats, rolls, fruit, greens, fine wines and champagnes, spreads with numerous pastries and sweets, the scene in the patisserie brimming with beautiful coloured confectionery and cream-filled cakes in all shapes and sizes, brought out the gourmet in me. I reckon this will generate all kinds of comments - so be it - but this is what made LC outstanding. At least for me. Did you notice how they ate? They savoured and cherised their food and, judging by their faces, they appeared to be having culinary orgasms - as it were. It made me wanna set off for Italy right away. (Instead I made do with a dried tomato and cheese sandwich. The closest I could get to anything Meditteranian at that very moment ;-)I gather the powers that be never ever meant to emphasize 'food, food, glorious food'. Yet, as far as I'm concerned, they did so all the same!
on 9 October 2010
It's a very realistic and still on going kind of situation very frequent in some Latin countries.It takes us to the world some how homophobic of a traditional Italian family struggling and trying to cope with 2 homosexual sons.Satiric and funny.
on 25 October 2011
Ozpetek proved once again that he is a very talented director. After "Hamam", "La fate ignoranti" we are offered another gay-theme story.
Interesting, without any flaw moments, with beautiful pictures and music. Nice item in our dvd collection.
on 15 August 2011
If you like arthouse and Italian movies, this is one must-see. Again a great movie by Ferzan Ozpetek. Nice story about gay life, family life, traditional life and traditional Italian romance with great humour. Good characters!
on 7 March 2012
I love the films of Ferzan Ozpetek - he is possibly my favourite Turkish/Italian film-maker. This film is a departure from his usual style. While still exploring relationships among straight and gay communities in contemporary Italy, this film moves from a big city setting (so often it's Roma) to the Puglian countryside. The characters are believable, the scenery is gorgeous and some of the scenes are side-splittingly funny. The only reason I didn't give it five stars is because those are reserved for his masterpiece, Le Fate Ignoranti!
on 22 September 2011
Another great movie from Ozpetek. At the same level as "Le fate ingoranti" and Facing Windows. I can absolutely recommend this DVD without any doubts.