Gloria! (2024) Berlinale 2024

February 21st, 2024
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Margherita Vicario | Cast: Galatéa Bellugi, Carlotta Gamba, Veronica Lucchesi, Maria Vittoria Dallasta, Sara Mafodda
Italy / Switzerland 2024 | Italian, Subtitles: English, German
106′ | Colour | World premiere | Debut film

The inmates of a Venetian girls’ musical orpanage in the Napoleonic era find their lives disrupted by the arrival of a splendid pianoforte – a newly-minted instrument which opens up a range of creative and lifestyle possibilities.

This well-made and visually appealing film begins in a seemingly sober and realistic vein but quickly escalates into the fantastical as it heads towards a giddy climax.

The musical rivalry between the convent’s star pupil and a ‘mute’, untutored outsider provides much of the story’s narrative thrust when the ingénue begins to compose music which sounds, at turns, suspiciously like jazz, minimalism and contemporary pop-rock –at one point even taking on a sheen of techno.

Her originality thrills the other girls, but throws the upcoming concert they are about to give for the Pope into jeopardy. Meanwhile, the convent’s elderly, untalented musical director tries to deal with his lust for a foppish, money-hungry young aristocrat.

It’s all very anachronistic and ultimately quite silly, but some will enjoy the girl-power uprising of the convent’s students against their patriarchal tutor, and there are moments of laugh-out-loud humour courtesy of a ravaged-looking Paolo Rossi, whose flights of shrieking fury are up there with those of Klaus Kinski. @IanLong



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