Friday, October 14, 2016

Foreign movie Friday: Ti Ricordi di me?

*Some spoilers ahead.*

This 2014 Italian confection is a retelling of the two-misfits-who-find-love tale, with a slight salting of 'reality' as perceived in its own universe. I must confess I'm less of a demanding film-viewer than reader. As such, I can be happy with sweetish stories like this one that offer not depth but simple engagement and curiosity.

The boy here is Roberto Marino, kleptomaniac, children's story writer. The girl is Beatrice Benassi, narcoleptic schoolteacher with some variety of amnesia problem as well. (The beauty of Italian names!) They happen to share a therapist, and it is here outside this building that Roberto becomes quickly enamored of Beatrice, tenderly watching her cross the street by skipping precisely over the white lines of a zebra crossing. In fact, after being an irritating git who keeps showing up with gifts for her, he finally gets her to soften by a cool trick he pulls in regard to this same zebra crossing.

The two become friends, the sort who hang out to eat gelato and talk about past hurts. She has a long-term boyfriend, though this does not deter the by-now less-annoying Roberto. In fact the director's nimble touch starts becoming evident here, when you realize that although things seem wafer-thin and airy, there is some substance beginning to emerge.

Roberto lives with his cop brother, Francesco and his wife, Valeria. This couple has their own bitter-sweet love story in the backdrop of the ups and downs of Beatrice and Roberto; finally, the misfits get together and there are more candy-sweet montages of their life together. Six years go by, in fact, and they've produced a little boy. Then, in an abrupt stroke of fate similar to those that Roberto is fond of using in his unsuitable children's stories, something happens to Beatrice. With the sudden-ness of real life, poor Roberto and the child are left behind in befuddlement.

Suffice to say that all is not quite lost at the ending, as in Roberto's stories.They happen to become wildly successful once they are targeted at the teenage-reader market - so we know that some sort of redemption is not off the table for their hapless creator, even if it is not explicitly shown.

For me, a big hook, besides the two leads' competence, was the tantalizing glimpses of Rome throughout. The cinematography is lush and flattering, and the use of color and light is simply put, very, very pretty. (In fact I was annoyed at having to look at sub-titles. I wanted to focus more on the faces and the almost casual beauty of the city in springtime.) Even Beatrice's sweet outfits in the first part of the story tell a sub-story of their own, as one sees in the last segment. And when you realize at the six-year mark when the crisis takes place that both she and Roberto actually look older, there is some sneaking respect for all involved in the crafting of this simple little chocolate and sea-salt bonbon of a film.

Director:Rolando Ravello
Overall rating: 6.5/10
English title: Remember me?

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