Dir.: Paolo Taviani; Cast: Luca Marinelli, Valentina Belle, Lorenzo Richelmy, Anna Ferruzzo; Italy/France 2017, 84 min.
In Paolo and Vittorio Taviani’s elegant historical drama, a doomed love-triangle, gets caught up in the tumultuous upheaval of the Second World War and the partisan resistance in Italy. Written by the brothers and based on the 1963 novel by Beppe Fenoglio, Paolo Taviani’s direction is a nostalgic outing celebrating the pre-WWII past, but with little to say about the fighting between partisans and Black-Shirts.
Milton (Marinelli) is fighting with the partisans in the winter of 1944/5, when he stumbles upon a villa in the remote countryside once the scene of his love affair for the beautiful Flavia (Belle). They were both students at the time, and loved to play old records. But Milton was jealous of fellow-student Giorgio (Richelmy), who also lusted after the young woman. Entering the villa, Milton meets the housekeeper (Ferruzzo), who remembers him from the olden days. She praises him, but has little to say about Giorgio, who, often visited Flavia after Milton left the scene, making it clear that, “nothing bad happened”. In the middle of the civil war, Milton tries in vain to thrash things out with fellow partisan Giorgio, who been taken prisoner by the Fascists.
DoP Simone Zampagni creates lovely images of the stylish interiors and rough mountain landscapes, but Taviani never comes to grips with the story: it is really like two films in one, with the director and his co-writing brother distinctly preferring the glorious setting of the past to the mudslinging fighting and intrigues played out at the HQs of both Fascist and partisans. But worse, everything said about war, friendship and jealousy is just trite and banal. Rainbow dies a slow, beautiful death, losing itself in the permanent fog of this beautiful but visionless piece of nostalgia. AS
CINEMA MADE IN ITALY | 7-11 MARCH 2018 | LONDON UK