Serena Iansiti and Raymond Ablack don’t make much of a splash.
FONDI ’91 (Dev Khanna). See listings. Rating: N
A certain sensitivity and intelligence are required to deal with rape on film. Fondi '91 exhibits little of either, which is why it ends up being shocking, exploitative and profoundly infuriating.
The coming-of-ager stars Degrassi's Raymond Ablack as Anil, the only brown guy on an all-white soccer team from New Jersey. Visiting Fondi, a small town in Italy, for a tournament, the guys all arrive with sex on their minds.
The film's mind-numbingly boring first half trades in tired clichés. Anil is the outsider because he is ridiculously shy, gentle and Indian. Yet girls are drawn to him for reasons that aren't apparent. He's as charmless as a three-leaf clover and also pretty creepy - he sometimes follows people around. When he chokes on a cigarette and waxes poetic about the stars in the sky, he's supposedly that much more attractive because apparently no one in Italy has seen a rom-com before.
Then comes the rape scene, which Anil witnesses but does nothing to prevent. He's practically as bad as the perpetrator, which seems to be the point this incoherent film tries to make as it lumbers through serious subject matter it can't handle.
The disturbing climax (I won't give it away) would have been pretty powerful had it been in a better film. Here, it's just another exploit, turning the audience into victims.
Opens Friday (July 12) at the Royal.