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Le Conseguenze dell'Amore PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sheila Seacroft   
05 07 2005
Directed by Paolo Sorrentino
the spaces between...A man (Toni Sevillo) sits in an anonymous hotel in Switzerland. His life is circumscribed by the hotel, a fix of heroin every Wednesday morning, and a weekly trip to the bank with a mysterious suitcase, which we soon learn contains Mafia money for laundering.  At first he is unknowable, we come at him tangentially, at odd angles, through mirrors, windows, or almost too close up to focus on. His face never changes, never shows emotion, his life is without any human warmth, he avoids contact. Everything he says is enigmatic, cold. He prizes himself only on his ability to bluff at cards. An amazing, mesmerising stillness pervades the screen.An interest (can we really call it love?) in the sympathetic barmaid Sofia (Olivia Magnani) awakens him from this living death and makes him challenge his obedience to the demands of his faceless masters, and we begin to piece together the story of his life, in all its bleakness. The cold- faced bluffing he has become so expert at now becomes a tool to use for his own real life ends. This is a tremendous performance by Toni Sevillo as Titta, who succeeds in somehow imbuing a totally impassive front with despair and longing.
Don't go expecting a standard 'mafia' film, or a film about love in the usual sense. This is mostly a portrayal of a man without love, either to give or to receive. The emptiness of his life is conveyed almost unbearably in the fragmented, slow moving visual style and the spare dialogue. Sofia and Titta's brother (Adriano Giannini), are almost like aliens in the still silent world of the film, in that they behave normally. The hotel, banal and modern though it is, brings memories of that old nouvelle vague enigma LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD, with its interminable corridors and mirrors, its pacing cameras, its formal music, its stylised dialogue, and its sense of alienation and the impossibility of human communication.
 The film builds up atmosphere and depth of feeling more in the way of a poem than a narrative.  It is a film you must be patient with. Ride along with the movement of the camera and lose yourself in the faces. Action come in the second half of the film, but the  plot does not really bear much examination. Odd things happen. We see much of it through Titta's perspective - flashbacks, fantasies, hopes?  Whatever - after all the perplexing motivations and ramifications, what the film is really about, and what it devastatingly portrays, is a lost man who has for years abandoned the life of the emotions, and what happens when he takes up with feelings again.
 Seen at Tyneside Cinema, June 2005
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