With 90-minutes of runtime, most filmmakers will pick one or two things and try to perfect them. Director Pierfrancesco Diliberto (better known as Pif) orders the whole menu, post-dinner stomachache be damned.
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A newly broke mom turns to the world’s oldest profession to repay her deceased husband’s debts in this light-hearted story of a damsel in a tiny black dress.
At 33, the last thing Alice (Paola Cortellesi) thought she’d be doing is moving her nine-year-old son out of their beautiful Roman villa and into the ramshackle “roof pad” of an apartment block in a multiethnic slum. Tasked with recouping thousands in owed debts, she contacts a friend working as an escort (Anna Foglietta) and asks for her help to break into the very lucrative business.
This formally accomplished, heartwarming Italian drama finds a former priest moving into a lighthouse in search of solace after losing his position in the priesthood, only to find his new home attracting the attention of others who have similarly stalled out in life.
Veteran Italian actor Rocco Papaleo writes and directs, and stars as Father Costantino. He’s joined at the lighthouse by his brother-in-law (Riccardo Scamarcio), whose wife has run out on him with an unknown lover, and a prostitute (Barbora Bobulova) who’s just saved enough money to buy herself a new life. More arrive, until the small home is brimming with eccentric characters, lively arguments, and uncovered secrets.
For a film whose many subplots stem from the playing of football matches, The Referee doesn’t teach you much about the sport. But then again, in a way it really does.
Much like the Albert Camus quote that opens the film, “Everything I know of morality, I learned on the soccer field”, ll – The Referee is a satiric film that digs in to human behavior as it fractures, contorts, and unites around the context of competition and fanaticism. Many small narratives emerge – some serious, most comedic.
The theme for Italian Film Festival 2014 - Chicago, is “Italian Comedy: Then & Now”. The festival runs 21-27 November at the Music Box Theatre. Five of the best Italian films of the year make their Chicago debut at the fest, including an outlandish crime caper (I Can Quit Whenever I Want), a daring black and white debut (The Referee), and a political comedy fronted by Toni Servillo in dual roles (Viva la libertà). The retrospective line-up features rare screenings of Pietro Germi’s Divorce Italian Style (1961) and Seduced and Abandoned (1964) as well as Dino Risi’s 1962 classic The Easy Life. Each film is to be screened twice, offering plenty of chances to take advantage of this annual showcase, which is presented with the cooperation of the Italian Cultural Institute Chicago and Cinecittà Luce.