Review #Venezia74: La vita in comune

Directed by Edoardo Winspeare, La vita in comune is a magnifying glass over life in a small village in Puglia, Italy, named Disperata. The film maintains its true nature by having the actors act in typical “salentino”, a Puglia dialect.

puglia

The film begins with a robbery in a gas station in the middle of nowhere, but it doesn’t end as expected: one of the robbers, Pati Runza (Claudio Giangreco) kills a dog that attacked them and doesn’t run away, touched by this violent death. He is taken to prison, while his brother Angiolino (Antonio Carluccio) is still thinking about robberies and criminal activities, teaching Pati’s son Biagetto (Davide Riso) how to be a mean criminal.

There is also another man, who is central in all the action: the mayor Filippo Pisanelli (Gustavo Caputo). Everyone in Disperata doesn’t trust the mayor and he is overwhelmed by his responsibilities and tries to hide in the prison where he meets Pati and where he teaches Italian literature to the prisoners. After some lessons, Pati starts to become more and more interested in poetry and he even begins to write some, inspired by the death of the dog.

After being released, Pati’s life is different, he wants to be a better man, but Angiolino is not so happy about that: he was already planning a big robbery at the bank. Pati tries to convince him without luck so he writes a letter to Pope Francis, begging him to convince Angiolino to do the right thing. The Pope calls Angiolino and he finally changes his mind. What the Pope says is very important because from that moment on Angiolino and Pati try to keep the surroundings of Disperata clean and wild. Important is the role played by Eufemia (Celeste Casciaro), who is the only woman that keeps the men calm and concentrated.

This is not a classic Italian comedy, mixed with dirty jokes and mafia, but it is a journey inside the real life in South Italy, where many places are endangered because of the crisis and the mafia. It’s a journey through the land’s flora and fauna, showing the true face of Italy’s natural beauty and the potential it has for tourism. Not a savage and commercial tourism but a slow and sustainable one. It’s almost like a TV commercial for the Region Puglia, only with it’s true problems and not a fake masquerade.

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