The Department of French and Italian

Italian Film

Thu, November 8, 2007 | MEZ BO.306 100 (basement)

8:00 PM

Another engaging magic realist adventure from Bread And Tulips director Silvio Soldini, Agata And The Storm is also yet another valentine to his luminous lead actress Licia Maglietta, cast in the title role of a radiant middle-aged bookstore owner being wooed by a young and married male customer. Fans of early Almodóvar should relish the garish colours, the topsy-turvy plotting, the offbeat characters and the surreal touches: this Agata has such fizzing emotional energy that lightbulbs explode in her presence.

Agata isn't the only person here chasing their dreams and following their heart. There's also her architect sibling Gustavo (Emilio Solfrizzi), who, on discovering that he was adopted, leaves behind his troubled marriage and embraces the company of his real brother Romeo (Guiseppe Battiston). The latter turns out to be a travelling salesman, devoted to his disabled wife yet prone to one-night stands, and longing to set up his own trout farm.

Switching between Genoa's old town and the peaceful Po Valley and containing several monochrome film-within-a-film sequences, the film doesn't pursue a conventional story: it's more a case of Soldini inviting us to spend a couple of amiable hours in his off-kilter universe in the company of Agatha and her friends, lovers and relatives.

Whilst Agata's bright and airy bookshop is one of the key locations in a slightly overlong work, literature itself and its capacity for inspiring and enriching the reader's imagination are celebrated by Soldini. (Of a disastrous romantic sojourn in Spain, Agata quips that she was an "Andalusian Madame Bovary".) Not a film then which wants to dutifully imitate everyday reality, but one which shows how life might be in a more utopian world.

~Tom Dawson

Sponsored by: Il Circolo Italiano

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  • Department of French and Italian

    University of Texas at Austin
    201 W 21st Street STOP B7600
    HRH 2.114A
    Austin, TX 78712-1800