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Al primo soffio di vento (At the First Breath of Wind)

Posted by martinteller on June 29, 2014

So I started going through my watchlist, picking out movies that were likely to strike a chord with me.  This one seemed promising, it sounded lovely and meditative.  Then I realized that the director, Franco Piavoli, is the same guy who did the empty, awful The Blue Planet.  But I stuck with it anyway.  More and more lately I’ve been bailing out on movies that didn’t grab me.  This time I decided to see it through to the end.  That was a mistake, and now I feel obliged to share my mistake with you.

The setting is an Italian farmhouse.  There’s a family there.  Father has some sort of interest in genetics.  Mother is writing some poetry in her head.  One daughter plays the piano.  The other daughter romps around in nature.  A grandfather is apparently dying in bed.  An older woman, maybe a grandmother, goes to meet a train, apparently looking for someone.  Two African dudes do all the work on the farm.

This movie seems like it’s trying a little harder than Blue Planet to have a message.  It’s saying something, but goddamnit, it’s not saying it very well.  Is it about how our differences comfort us but also isolate us, as father writes about?  Is the dying old guy supposed to make us contemplate our mortality?  Are the African dudes oppressed?  Father has a nightmare that begins with black people in a library, so maybe it’s a statement about how the idle white folks are exploiting other races.  I dunno.

There’s a lot of shots of people staring into space.  Most of the time they look bored.  That’s fair.  Why should I be the only one?  There’s also a lot of shots of cats.  Sometimes they look bored too, but I can look at bored cats all day long.  I love cats.  There’s five of them in my house.  You would be within your rights to call that a fuckload of cats.  One of them doesn’t even like people.  From the time she was a few weeks old, I fed her, gave her shelter and a box to pee in.  And she wants nothing to do with me.  What do you with a cat like that?  Sometimes I wonder if we’d both be better off if I just opened the door and let her go.  But I couldn’t do that.  I care about her, even though she seems to think I’m constantly trying to murder her.

So, cats are nice.  It’s a movie with a lot of pretty pictures.  The nature girl has red hair.  Red and green are complementary colors.  Put a redhead in a green field and it’s going to look nice, guaranteed.  Pretty, pretty pictures.  People looking bored.  Cats.  Weird nightmare out of nowhere.  Old dude in a bed.  There’s got to be a point to this.  Right?  Don’t tell me, I don’t care.  Congratulations, Franco Piavoli.  I’ve now seen a worse film this year than James and the Giant Peach.  Rating: Crap (24)

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