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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Italian tragedy
"David's birthday" is another example how good the european cinema can be.
Marco Filiberti (director) tells us a story about love, lust, discovering the true yourself and destiny.
The title David is a greek god-looking-like boy, student, part-time model, whose beauty causes a lot of commotion wherever he appears.
But he is not the main character here. It is...
Published on 12 April 2011 by Pitbulltje

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Greek Tragedy
Though an Italian film, this is essentially a Greek tragedy, which emphasises the dangers of giving into sexual temptation, no matter how attractive the the object desire. In some ways it is reminiscent of "Death in Venice" (including the use of music by Mahler) but with a much more overt sexual element.
Published on 12 April 2012 by Gay Londoner


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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Italian tragedy, 12 April 2011
This review is from: David's Birthday [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
"David's birthday" is another example how good the european cinema can be.
Marco Filiberti (director) tells us a story about love, lust, discovering the true yourself and destiny.
The title David is a greek god-looking-like boy, student, part-time model, whose beauty causes a lot of commotion wherever he appears.
But he is not the main character here. It is Matteo, a psychoanalyst, well educated and very handsome man.
Matteo is married. Happily married (or at least he wants everybody to think that) to Francesca.
And then our hunky David comes around...

While watching the film I couldn't resist comparing David to greek Helena, who brought misfortune to Troya. But in this case his appearance caused serious consequences to...
Without spilling the beans I recommend to watch the film. Nothing fails here. Direction, pictures (beautiful coast of Italy) and music are great. Acting is excellent.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Greek tragedy set in Italy - the destructive effect of obsession, 22 Jun 2011
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This review is from: David's Birthday [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
Not since the Terence Stamp character in Pasolini's classic film Theorem has one handsome young man caused such havoc on a group of people. That it might end in tears was signalled early on by use of some passages of what sounded like Mahler.

Two couples go to the seaside to get away. One couple is Matteo, a handsome and (I suspect) financially successful psychiatrist who has trouble relaxing, and his wife Francesca. The other couple - I think the husband is the brother of Matteo - include the mother of the eponymous David, a very handsome man who travels the world.

The film shows the foursome trying to relax. Some are fidgety and others not - this makes for tension at the dining table. Even the choices of music playing on the sound system cause clashes (the tracks chosen are very apposite to the different personalities), Into this haven of intended (but not actual) tranquillity comes David. Matteo is thunderstruck by the youth, his nephew, whom he had not seen for 5 years or so and who now resembles a Greek god turning all heads who see him. When he stands in the moonlight in the shallows of the sea, with water dripping from his body, he is the stuff of which wet dreams are made.

There are echoes of the Orpheus legend. But here there's a sexual tension as Matteo feels drawn to follow David to see where he goes for several hours away from the house. Matteo has immense difficulty in restraining himself. Meanwhile his marriage to Francesca is made tense by his intellectualism which grates on her more pleasure-seeking nature.

Interspersed with this scene of bubbling sexual tension are scenes showing Matteo and one of his patients - who at first comes across as a mature, deeply unsympathetic and selfish woman who does not understand why others so dislike her. A scene occurs where Matteo suddenly glimpses her away from his psychiatrist's couch and he immediately grasps the cause of her apparent self-centredness. I won't reveal what that is but he responds by becoming far more sympathetic to her and uses her forename for the first time.

Back at the villa however matters move to the inevitable climax. David's mother senses the attraction Matteo feels for David and starts to watch for them together. Again I will not reveal the outcome, but it has shades of Phaedra and, in a way, Cocteau's Orphee. David's Birthday, planned as a celebration prior to his leaving once again, turns into a sombre occasion.

I found the film confusing at times because both Matteo and another male character(called, I think, Leonsrdo, who is - I understood - a widower who lost his wife mysteriously) wore similar scruffy beards. The two males in the villa's foursome and Leonardo all seem a little similar and I had difficulty telling them apart; but that may be because I didn't watch the entire film in one sitting. The playing of Matteo, of Francesca and of David's mother is very fine; that of David is not required to be especially good acting but he is more than a very handsome body and face, he can show some subtlety in his responses to Matteo when the latter is in sight and not observing him from behind bushes.

The film is not a masterpiece but it captures the tensions of sexual repression, in their various ways, very well.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The temptations of Apollo, 25 Jan 2011
Two couples, in their early 40s, rent a villa on the Italian coast for the summer. The tensions are immediately drawn, given the ostensible incompatibility within and between the couples. Diego is the archetypal philandering playboy, while his wife Shary is urbane and prickly. Matteo is a bookish psychoanalyst, while his wife Francesca is naïve and fragile.

Into this already tempestuous mix arrives 20-year-old David (Thyago Alves), Diego and Shary's son, an enigmatic character with the physique and poise of a Greek god. David's entrance catalyses the brewing trouble, not least because of the immediate magnetism that draws Matteo (Massimo Poggio) toward David. Amid the fraying temperatures and blistering heat, Matteo becomes a voyeur, spying on David in an attempt to possess the beautiful young man.

DAVID'S BIRTHDAY (Italian, with English subtitles) is a compelling watch, edging into the heights of powerful family drama that is usually the territory of French film-makers. Director Marco Filiberti creates a tremendous collective intimacy, in which the viewer becomes a participant at the villa, sensible to the emotional cauldron but without the distancing of a god's-eye view. The characters' secrets are thus never laid bare, nor are they subject to a moralising judgment.

A sultry backdrop, excellent performances from the whole cast, and a passionate musical score, combine to create a poignant, sensuous and intense work. DAVID'S BIRTHDAY is highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars plausibility issues, 12 July 2012
This review is from: David's Birthday [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
There are two obstacles to overcome if you've to find this a worthwhile film. Is it plausible that a middle-aged married man can go half his life without it occuring to him that he might just have homosexual tendencies, and only undergoes this revelation when he sees some pretty boy in his tight-fitting swimming trunks washing himself down suggestively with a hose?

I don't think so, especially these days when such boys, with their obsessive grooming and narcissistic vanity, are delivered to your TV screens every other day; or maybe our latent homosexual, unlike us, doesn't have access to a dvd player, or has never seen an episode of Home and Away or Neighbours; or maybe he's been living on the moon for twenty years, or just been in a damned coma for all this time. One thing's for sure, the director is well familiar with Visconti's Death in Venice, for this film is so closely related to it that it could almost pass as plagiarism.

Middle-aged man, married with a young daughter, becomes captivated by a veritable young adonis whom he meets while holidaying with his family and the boy's parents in some beautiful coastal town in swelteringly hot Italy. Like Visconti's Tadzio, our boy is clearly in love with himself and seems to take pleasure in showing off his perfectly chiselled body whenever an opportunity presents itself. In keeping with a theme from Visconti's film - the indignity and utter frustration of infatuation - the older man soon succumbs to the powerful allure of the boy's sublime beauty and consequently loses his dignity and composure in coming to terms with his emerging sexuality, while at the same time grappling with the mental torture of his frustrated sexual urges. And of course it all ends in tragedy....as it does in Death in Venice.

As for the other issue I have with this film, it concerns the actor who plays the role of the boy's infatuated admirer. What on earth was the director thinking about when he cast this individual, this charmless and wimpish physical nonentity, as the sort of man who could attract the interest of a boy, and a smart discerning boy at that, who is so much the full package that he could virtually get anybody he wanted? And sad to say it is this unpardonable case of bad judgement that prevents the film from reaching its full potential as something erotically and romantically beautiful, and worthy of being compared to the masterpiece that surely inspired it. The elements were all there, but the directing was found wanting.

Nevertheless, the film has a lot of charm. The photography and setting are impressive, the cast attractive and convincing, and the story is sufficiently engaging to sustain the viewer's attention. A classic piece of gay cinema? Perhaps not, but certainly a decent effort and well worth the money.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "There are some roads you can't turn back on", 5 Jan 2012
By 
Tommy Dooley "Tom" (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: David's Birthday [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
This Italian film from director Marco Filberti, tells the tale of two couples who decide to hire a beautiful house on the Italian coast for a whole month of summer holidays. Both couples have a façade of being happily married, but obviously have pasts. Diego (Alessandro Gassman) has a son from a previous hitch up to Shary. He is the David who is going to have a birthday as promised in the title.

Whilst they fall into a rhythm of care free meals, games on the beach and lots of al fresco dining, he suddenly turns up after being away in New York for five years. He is part time student, model and head turner David (Thyago Alves). He wastes absolutely no time in getting the Speedos out to pose languidly on the beach, Surf board, any piece of given furniture. He immediately causes a stir amongst the local flibbertigibbets and a lot more besides.

One person who seems obsessively drawn is the happily married Matteo ( Massimo Poggio). He is a self made man, who loves his wife, daughter and job. He is a psychoanalyst and has to keep taking time out to treat his patients, one of whom is a daughter hating, woman, who seems to be treating him as much as he is treating her by her outpouring of non maternal revulsion.

This is a very stylish and well directed film, the musical score is both empathetic and emotional in equal measure. It actually opens at a performance of `Tristen and Isolde', and those themes of love and loss run like a vein throughout the film. There is also an elusive brother Leonard, who is still grieving the loss of his wife and seems to know more than he is admitting to. Past emotions are never too far from the surface and as copious amounts of wine are added to the mix, things are going to happen.

As the heat of summer rises, so does the passion and emotions get ramped up to bursting point the closer we get to the actual birthday. No one is left untouched by the events that follow. It is in Italian and a bit of English, with good sub titles and a run time of just over 100 minutes. This is a highly polished, well acted and crafted film. Whilst homosexuality or at least desire/lust are central themes, also is the one of honesty and in being true to your self you are, in turn, being true to others. I very much enjoyed this film and can highly recommend to fans of quality European cinema.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Italian Drama, 19 May 2013
This review is from: David's Birthday [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
Marco Filberti's compelling 'David's Birthday' is a handsomely produced, superbly acted and expansively directed tragedy centering on lust and mendacity and their devastating results on a group of close friends. Each has his or her issues and they are all fascinating. But they pale into insignificance when David (the impossibly beautiful Thyago Alvez) is seen for the first time since being a child, by psychoanalyst Matteo (Masimmo Poggio). The look in the latter's eyes tells you everything as David emerges from the pool. The progression and consequences of their mutually felt lust then affects and eventually consumes the bonds that hold this disparite but close band of friends together. Central to this is Matteo's inability to admit to anyone his powerful attraction to David. He watches him bathing, enjoying a midnight swim, examines his room and a portfolio of underwear modelling photos, and even spies on David masturbating. His constant lies and cover ups (but not self loathing) lead to increasing tensions with his wife. During a therapy session, one of his patients hits the spot - 'I don't lie. I omit'. And The selfish behaviour of David who does nothing to dissuade Matteo and uses his looks and pulling power to,if not manipulate, certainly to confuse others, leads to the tragic climax. This way above average Italian production scores in every department and is well worth owning as it stands repeated viewings. Excellent soundtrack and theme. No extras apart from trailers on my disc. In Italian with subtitles. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow.....how am I to recover., 12 July 2011
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I am not sure whether it is more accurate to describe this film as disturbing or mesmerizing?

It is certainly both painful and intense to watch, especially as you are witness to the unraveling of lives and the brutal tenderness that results. David the the young son of Shary and Diego returns to Italy to celebrate his birthday and enjoy the peace and tranquility of his childhood. His parents both young themselves, having had David when young lovers, are hiding a deep seated resentment of each other. Diego still considers himself the stud of his youth, and is determined to have as much fun as is possible. His affairs are part of that holding onto his past, and it is only occasionally that he accepts his responsibility as a father and husband. Shary on the other hand has transferred her love and affection to her son, whom she dotes over. She lashes out at Diego when he tries to direct David towards all the cute girls, encouraging him t live life as he has done. When David rejects this, Diego questions his masculinity only to unleash the wrath of Shary who demands he keep to himself and leave the parenting to her (as he has always done).

Sharing the holiday with them, are old friends Matteo (a psychologist) and Francesca his demure and loving wife. They seem to be a stable influence on the lives of their friends, whereas in truth they are as damaged. Matteo becomes overwhelmed with his reaction to David, and this unsettles him to such an extent that he starts to unravel. His mental health training forces him to explore his feelings, although his natural instinct is to flee its reality and mask such through inappropriate behaviour and drinking. Francesca being a gentle and fragile being, finds her identity in Matteo and her marriage. She has little identity or substance of her own, but is content with life, as Mattheo loves and adores her.

Then a decision is made, and one of the characters out acts on their deep seated desires and hidden realities. What results is a series of events that leaves family, friends and lovers overwhelmed by the consequence of that decision.

Extremely well written and superbly acted. One of the best films I have seen this year.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The temptations of Apollo, 7 Mar 2011
This review is from: David's Birthday [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
Two couples, in their early 40s, rent a villa on the Italian coast for the summer. The tensions are immediately drawn, given the ostensible incompatibility within and between the couples. Diego is the archetypal philandering playboy, while his wife Shary is urbane and prickly. Matteo is a bookish psychoanalyst, while his wife Francesca is naïve and fragile.

Into this already tempestuous mix arrives 20-year-old David (Thyago Alves), Diego and Shary's son, an enigmatic character with the physique and poise of a Greek god. David's entrance catalyses the brewing trouble, not least because of the immediate magnetism that draws Matteo (Massimo Poggio) toward David. Amid the fraying temperatures and blistering heat, Matteo becomes a voyeur, spying on David in an attempt to possess the beautiful young man.

DAVID'S BIRTHDAY (Italian, with English subtitles) is a compelling watch, edging into the heights of powerful family drama that is usually the territory of French film-makers. Director Marco Filiberti creates a tremendous collective intimacy, in which the viewer becomes a participant at the villa, sensible to the emotional cauldron but without the distancing of a god's-eye view. The characters' secrets are thus never laid bare, nor are they subject to a moralising judgment.

A sultry backdrop, excellent performances from the whole cast, and a passionate musical score, combine to create a poignant, sensuous and intense work. DAVID'S BIRTHDAY is highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice , fresh , relaxing, 3 May 2013
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This review is from: David's Birthday [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
Very nice movie, i really recommend it. Great for a Sunday afternoon!!
The acting was very good and very well written, Enjoy it!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant film, 28 April 2013
By 
London (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: David's Birthday [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
This is cinema at its best - tension taken right to the wire, and not just one storyline, but three or four interwoven, with the brooding hot Italian summer as the backdrop. Tremendous performances all round.
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David's Birthday [DVD] [2010]
David's Birthday [DVD] [2010] by Marco Filiberti (DVD - 2011)
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