Luigi Catani (left) gets ready to fly with his wannabe superhero cousin, Vincenzo Nemolato, in Italian festival opener Kryptonite!
KRYPTONITE! (Ivan Cotroneo). 98 minutes. Subtitled. Screens Tuesday (June 26), 7 pm, at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, part of the Italian Contemporary Film Festival. See Indie & Rep Film. Rating: NNN
Kryptonite!, which opens the inaugural Italian Contemporary Film Festival, doesn't really go anywhere, but the journey is still sweet.
In his debut feature, screenwriter Ivan Cotroneo (I Am Love) pursues his preoccupation with family dynamics, this time tracking a Neapolitan clan dealing with the cultural upheaval of the early 70s.
Dad (Luca Zingaretti) is having an affair, sending his wife (Valeria Golino) into a deep depression, which, in turn, leaves their counterculture-loving young adult kids to tend to their preteen brother, Peppino (a luminous Luigi Catani). Peppino, in the meantime, is seeing dead people, specifically his cousin Gennaro, who had delusions that he was Superman and has just been killed in a car accident.
Though the narrative lacks drive, it has a lot of heart, great performances by Golino and young Catani, and expertly conveys a world rapidly changing thanks to new drugs (LSD), new ideas (free love) and new politics (specifically feminism).
Art direction geeks will love it, too.
Also on the festival slate, among others, is Emanuele Crialese's Terraferma, Italy's 2011 submission for the foreign-language film Oscar; Basilicata Coast To Coast, about an indie band who decide to walk to their music fest gig as a publicity stunt; and What A Beautiful Day (Che Bella Giornata), the crowd-pleasing comedy that's become the most successful Italian film of all time.