Two Italian Movies

During 2013 I watched two Italian films by Turkish director Ferzan Ozpetek: Mine vaganti (2010) and Magnifica presenza (2012). While they are similar in some aspects, like a male main character that responds to the stereotype of someone that has not yet met success in life and therefore has a crisis, or family being a central piece in his life, each film deals with a different kind of story.

Mine vaganti

Tommaso is the youngest son of the Cantone family, that owns a pasta manufacturing company in southern Italy. He comes back from Rome after finishing his studies with the firm intention of telling the truth to his father: that he did not study Economics but Literature, and also that he is gay. Before doing that, he entrusts his older brother Antonio, the heir to the pasta factory, with his secret and his intentions, only to find out that Antonio tells exactly that story to the whole family during a family dinner, causing their father, Vicenzo, to have a heart attack. Now Antonio is cast out of the family and Tommaso must run the company while trying to hide his real feelings and sexual orientation, especially when his Roman boyfriend and friends drop by for a visit.

Mine vaganti is a nice bittersweet comedy about family and being yourself against all odds. The characters feel very real, almost like the director went through a similar experience himself. The whole story, actually, could be real: a young man forced to follow his father's steps although it's not his vocation, a closed-minded family that cares more about what other people in town will say than solving their actual problems, family secrets... I definetely recommend it.

Magnifica presenza

Pietro moves in to a very old house in Rome pursuing his dream of becoming an actor. After some time, he starts to notice that he is not alone: a family of actors share his rooms, but only he can see them... They are ghosts and Pietro has to help them get closure so that they can abandon the house.

I'm all in for magical realism with a shade of drama and a comedic side, and that's exactly what this movie offers. Again, the director presents a main male character who is struggling to solve his own personal and professional crisis as well as his disastrous love life. This part plays a significant role and, although it's not quite the central piece of the movie, it merges in perfect equilibrium with the ghost story, which is the most interesting part. Watch it if you have chance.