Monday, November 12, 2018

From Italy, with love (and pain), Cesare Furesi's WHO WILL SAVE THE ROSES?

For a film as poetic, elliptical, elusive and often beautiful as the new Italian movie, WHO WILL SAVE THE ROSES? -- from co-writer and director Cesare Furesi -- the words that lead off this film are surprising: "Dedicated to that big piece of shit of my father." TrustMovies suspects that the English translation here may be a bit off, and that the second "of" in the dedication might better be replaced with a comma. Either way, it does seem clear that Signore Furesi (shown below) is not a huge fan of his dad.

What follows this somewhat jaw-dropping dedication, however, is such a surprising and lovely story that I suspect U.S. movie-goers who appreciate foreign films and oddball tales may take quite a liking to this sweet, sad and finally take-no-prisoners endeavor. Its finale is as uncompromising as any I've seen in a long while and goes up against such a long-held taboo -- especially in its native Italy -- that I imagine the audience reactions there were rather mixed.

The very leisurely beginning put us in touch with an elderly male couple -- the amazing and quite delightful Giulio (Carlo della Piani, below, right) and his bed-ridden partner Claudio (Lando Buzzanca, at left) -- and their unusual everyday life, in which the aged and himself infirm Giulio does everything from feeding and caring for his partner to mowing the lawn on their rather large-but-gone-to-seed estate.

Into their life returns Giulio's estranged daughter, Valeria (the beautiful Caterina Murino, below), who, though still angry at her father, proves to have remained very close to his partner, Claudio.

On the heels of her return comes that of her son (the men's grandson) Marco (Antonio Careddu, below), along with his girlfriend, with both of them soon involved in the lives of the elder set.

As for the usual back story, history and exposition that most family dramas would give us, Signore Furesi pretty much ignores all this. Oh, we get bits and pieces, but this hardly adds up to enough to deeply involve us. Instead, that involvement comes through the artful use of a kind of visual and verbal poetry that engages our mind and heart via the beauty of the well-chosen words and beautifully composed, often stunning images.

These includes sunsets (above and below) -- the film is set in Sardinia, which, as shown here looks to be a most beautiful and welcoming place -- which come into play not only for their beauty but as a "hook" for investors to help resuscitate an old family hotel (shades of the recent Mamma Mia! movie sequel). 

Gambling -- as art, vice and life -- also figures in the bizarre plot, as we learn that Giulio once allowed that very bad habit to intrude too heavily in his and his lover's life and finances. Now, here it comes again, this time as a possible savior, thanks to a wealthy old friend who owns the local casino (how good to see Philippe Leroy, shown below, left, in his senior years).

Finally, however, it is the performances of the two old men, especially that of the amazing Signore della Piane (above, right, and below), that brings the movie to life and holds it that way. Giulio's character -- forever dithering but helping, hoping against hope, using every means at his increasingly emptying disposal, love pouring out of every pore -- proves so memorable and amazing that you never doubt the unbreakable bond that exists between these two men.

There's a high-stakes poker game (below), the results of which question what is truth (in a manner than our current idiot President could never begin to appreciate or understand).  By the time we reach that finale, I suspect that anyone who has lived and loved hard enough and long enough will be able to fully savor the decision that has been reached.

I've often said that it is Italy that makes the best films about family. Here is yet another fine example. From Corallo Film, Who Will Save the Roses? arrived on VOD here in the USA this past Friday, November 9, and will have its American theatrical debut in the Los Angeles area at Laemmle's new Glendale theater this coming Friday, November 16.

The photo of the director, second from top, 
is by Camilla Morandi and comes 
courtesy of Getty Images.


Sixpence Notthewiser said...

Oh, I SO want to see this movie!!

TrustMovies said...

Thanks for commenting, Sixpence! If you're in Chicago, you ought to be able to find this one on VOD, I think. At least, that what I was told by its publicist. Good luck. It's worth seeing, if only for the tale of aged gays in love. And there's lots more, too.