Paolo Sorrentino, that I have previously seen. From his strange and wonderful opening -- in which the camera, beginning in long shot, comes ever closer to something that seems to bring 16th-Century France into present-day Italy -- to the brilliant finale (which echoes the fine Spanish film Concursante), television at last succeeds in becoming one man's, one country's, perhaps one world's reality.
Fellini as a point of comparison, but I don't think so. Not really. Garrone uses his people quite differently than did Fellini -- for one thing, they don't all exist as mainly satellites of the filmmaker. (In any case, we'll have the opportunity to compare next week, when 8-1/2 get a welcome theatrical revival. More on this soon.)
Aniello Arena (shown above, below right, and further below), an actual prisoner of the Italian penal system whom that system agreed to allow outside for a time in order to film the movie. (What with the recent great success of the Taviani brothers' Caesar Must Die, this may now constiture a "trend." Maybe the U.S. ought to try this with its own, ever-growing prison population.)
Loredana Simioli, above and at bottom) and his community becomes the heart of the movie. When possible spying by the TV crew turns into paranoia, what happens to our hero is profoundly sad, all the more so because he allows, even encourages it himself.
Angelika Film Center, Reality (from Oscilloscope and running 102 minutes) will be making a number stops in other U.S. cities, beginning next week in Los Angeles at Laemmle's Royal theater. To see all currently scheduled playdates, cities and theaters, click here and scroll down.