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  • Gyran25 February 2002
    This gem of a film by Antonio Grimaldi has, sadly, been largely ignored outside Italy. Maybe the silly English title Bits and Pieces is partly to blame. Who wants to see a film called Bits and Pieces? Something like Blue Skies would have been better.

    The obvious comparisons are with Robert Altman's Short Cuts and Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia (although Il cielo. predates the latter by four years). Grimaldi's achievement is superior to both those films, nor does it leave the unpleasant taste in the mouth that they do. Technically, it is more ambitious with 30 or so tiny stories fitting together like a mosaic. Grimaldi goes for width rather than depth. The overall effect is of seeing a year's instalments of a soap opera fast forwarded into two hours. Nevertheless, there is an intellectual satisfaction in spotting how the stories interrelate and in seeing characters from one story wandering around in the background to another. I don't usually like to watch films more than once but I got much more out of Il Cielo.. on a second viewing than on the first..

    There are plums everywhere in this pie: Dario Argento's cameo as a man who prays to the Virgin Mary to beg her not to appear to him, the obnoxious dentist, the hard and soft traffic wardens, the gourmet workmen, the mercenary motor-cycle repairman, the failed CD salesman to name just a few. One leitmotif is people stopping to make calls at public phoneboxes, and this is only seven years ago. Now most people in Italy seem to go around with a mobile permanently clamped to their ear.

    It is nice to see an Italian film where the sound is recorded live and not post-synchronised. If you are a student of Italian, you will enjoy the simple, colloquial dialogue and the excellent subtitles. I lost count of the number of ingenious translations of vaffanculo that they came up with. There are catchy songs in the opening and closing credits, also nicely translated. If only they could have done something about the title.
  • jotix10012 June 2010
    Warning: Spoilers
    At first, this film can be disorienting. We do not realize what Antonello Grimaldi has prepared for us. In fact, the director takes us for a magical tour of a city that probably adopted him, as well as so many other masters of the Italian cinema, coming, as he does from Sassari, Sardinia. Yet, the adopted child has his own voice. He wants to show us what must be routine from anyone that calls Rome home.

    If there is a central figure, it must be the man one first meets while running in the rooftop of his building that overlooks the city. This man keeps appearing at different times, sort of like an eavesdropper that is always around, although not judgmental. The vignettes presented are full of humor, like those involving the postman, the traffic police woman, even the mechanic that overcharges clients, or the taxi driver that is not on duty, but is ordered to take the exasperating executive type to where he wants to go, no matter what.

    The chaotic world that is lived in a busy metropolis like Rome, is examined by Mr. Grimaldi with equal amounts of patience, resignation and love. His style, it has been noted, reminds us of Robert Altman, but the comparison does not come close to the reality. Mr. Grimaldi's loosely told stories are just glimpses of characters he probably has known, or met, at one point of his life.

    The film is almost a Who's-who in the Italian cinema. Stars such as Silvio Orlando, Asia Argento, Margherita Buy, Francesca Neri, Monica Belucci, Enrico Loverso, Antonio Catania, Gianmarco Tognazzi, are only a few of the people that populate this densely packed film. Alessandro Pesci captured brilliantly the eternal city. Enzo Favata contributes with a fine musical score. The screenplay, if there was ever one, is credited to Daniele Caserano and Paolo Marchesini.

    Indeed, this was a great day in Rome thanks to the vision of Antonello Grimaldi!
  • Film about a 24 hour day in Rome, with 30 stories interwoven with 130 speaking parts. Monica Bellucci fans give this movie a miss! She appears in one scene less than one minute long, in a 145 minute movie...Not to mention it arrives 1 hour into this agonizingly slow film. You've been warned!