3 February 1999 | Quilty-6
A brilliant debut by Antonio Rezza and Flavia Mastrella, a duo already famous for numerous shorts which have won them prizes all over Italy and for the theatrical show "Pitecus". ESCORIANDOLI is a completely out-of-the-ordinary film, marked by sharp, provoking humor which stirs and disturbs the viewers rather than just making them laugh. We are light years away from the mild, reassuring humor of the new Italian comics (Pieraccioni, Albanese, Aldo Giovanni & Giacomo), Rezza's style upsets, deranges, bewilders and wounds. A "pain humor", by no means conciliating, completely concentrated on acute linguistic games and mainly on Rezza's extreme "body talk", as he is a chameleon gifted with an extraordinary facial mimicry. But it would be reductive to state only the acting body of Rezza: ESCORIANDOLI is in fact an impressive film visually and direction-wise, created with an absolutely unmistakable style: crooked and out-of-place shots, with the characters always moving at the margins, concise editing which often ignores correct grammar, cold, crystalline photography, delirious and futuristic settings, a strange psychedelic soundtrack (by CSI). There is only one defect to find in these two filmmakers: not having a sense of rhythm and synthesis. In fact, after the initial surprise, the viewer ends up getting used to the "newness" of Rezza's humor and watches the rest of the movie in boredom and indifference (partly due to the excessive prolixity of certain episodes, such as the second and fouth, which are the weakest ones). But the devastating originality of this debut work immediately makes it evident why it was neglected by the ignorant Italian masses.