1 October 2005 | the_rock456
Quite good after all
For the most part, modern Italian cinema falls in a metaphorical crease somewhere between shite and ridiculouslyunwatchablegaginducing shite. Fortunately, the laws that regulate ordinary life miraculously do manage to permeate that thick veil that separates the silver screen from reality, and just like ordinary life is graced by the presence of exceptions, so is Italian cinema. The exceptions to the aforementioned sweeping observation are rare and, quite frankly, may not all be entirely deserving. However, if I may be so bold as to point out the obvious, it is precisely this elusiveness that casts an aura of light around these pictures, kindling a sort of applausive reaction that would otherwise be unwarranted.
The Consequences of Love is a prime example of my Nobel prize theory. It is, by all accounts, a remarkable achievement in elegance and sophistication. Yet, and here I may be momentarily possessed by Saint Cynicus, I feel inclined to partly attribute this positive reception to the widespread absence of quality in Italian cinema. Sorrentino's film was, therefore, a blissful simmer of light in a dark, slimy, murky ocean and, because of this, it was received like a Messiah.
Wide consensus indicates that Ozpetek's films also constitute a source of illumination in this lifeless world and, although I may not wait in a state of advanced excitement and trepidation for the release of his next picture, it is fair to say that, for once, I sheepishly agree with the crowd. Which brings me to the movie in question, Cuore Sacro. Part of me feels compelled to criticise the absurdity of this modern day Franciscan tale. Once again possessed by the spirit of Saint Cynicus, I can't help but remain baffled by the banality of an idea so religious as to verge on the profane. You may say that it is precisely this sort of seemingly soul inspiring parable that can lift us from the crude stiffness of our faithless times. I concede that, despite the awful predictability, there could be pinch of verity in this, but I still think that, however uplifting it may be, it still has the same consistency of a ripe Vacherin.
Schizophrenic nut that I am, the other side of me applauds Ozpetek for his directorial skills. He takes potentially lethal material that, at least at first glance, would appear appropriate for a TV film for the Church Channel, and, perhaps aided by the hand of the Almighty himself, miraculously manages to add a layer of basic, though effective, sophistication. The minimalist direction, the (perhaps forced) elegance of the dialogues and the acting dexterity of Barbora Babulova, all contribute to the overshadowing of the banality of the story and to the accomplishment of a final product that, after all, is not that trite, not that religious and thus, not that cinematically profane.