The Past is a Foreign Land (2008) Il Passato e una Terra Straniera

January 6th, 2012
Author: Meredith Taylor

Director Daniele Vicari

Chiara Caselli, Elio Germano, Valentina Lodovini, Michele Riondino

Italy  127 mins 15

The southern Italian city of Bari is the setting for this fast-moving thriller from documentary filmmaker Daniele Vicari.  Based on a crime bestseller it adapts well to the big screen with its luxury location shots and contemporary subject matter.  It’s a chalk and cheese story of two young guys from opposite ends of the social spectrum who diverge with a common interest: gambling.

Elio Germano (My Brother is an Only Child) plays Giorgio a well-heeled, quick-witted law student who hides his winnings in hard-back classics and Francesco (Michele Riondino) is just a hard-nosed card shark with a bed-ridden mother you feel he rather resents.

Kicking off as small time card tricksters in the local bars and nightclubs, the two rub shoulders with bored, society housewives and unscrupulous businessmen. Soon they develop more sophisticated scams and the big money starts to roll in. We can’t help feeling that for Giorgio’s it’s just a game.  But for Francesco it’s all he has.

The action switches to the road as they expand their horizons from Bari to Barcelona and from gambling to drug dealing. From sunny seascapes and sophisticated scenarios the story takes a darker and more sinister hue as Giorgio spirals down into drug abuse from risk-taking respectability while Francesco develops full-blown misogyny in scenes of bloody-nosed violence.

This is where their characters fuse into a well of negativity but their friendship starts to fall apart.  And there’s no prize for guessing who sees the light at the end of the tunnel and manages to morph his misspent youth into a respectable future.

This is a cracking thriller and there is much to be admired in Vicari’s skill as a filmmaker with his finger on the emotional pulse and his eye firmly on the action.

Meredith Taylor ©

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Director Daniele Vicari

Chiara Caselli, Elio Germano, Valentina Lodovini Michele Riondino

**** 127 mins 15

 

The southern Italian city of Bari is the setting for this fast-moving thriller from documentary filmmaker Daniele Vicari.  Based on a crime bestseller it adapts well to the big screen with its luxury location shots and contemporary subject matter.  It’s a chalk and cheese story of two young guys from opposite ends of the social spectrum who diverge with a common interest: gambling.

 

Elio Germano (My Brother is an Only Child) plays Giorgio a well-heeled, quick-witted law student who hides his winnings in hard-back classics and Francesco (Michele Riondino) is just a hard-nosed card shark with a bed-ridden mother you feel he rather resents.

 

Kicking off as small time card tricksters in the local bars and nightclubs, the two rub shoulders with bored,

Society housewives and unscrupulous businessmen. Soon they develop more sophisticated scams and the big money starts to roll in. We can’t help feeling that for Giorgio’s it’s just a game.  But for Francesco it’s all he has.

 

The action switches to the road as they expand their horizons from Bari to Barcelona and from gambling to drug dealing. From sunny seascapes and sophisticated scenarios the story takes a darker and more sinister hue as Giorgio spirals down into drug abuse from risk-taking respectability while Francesco develops full-blown misogyny in scenes of bloody-nosed violence.

 

This is where their characters fuse into a well of negativity but their friendship starts to fall apart.  And there’s no prize for guessing who sees the light at the end of the tunnel and manages to morph his misspent youth into a respectable future.

 

This is a cracking thriller and there is much to be admired in Vicari’s skill as a film-maker with his finger on the emotional pulse and his eye firmly on the action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Director Daniele Vicari

Chiara Caselli, Elio Germano, Valentina Lodovini Michele Riondino

**** 127 mins 15

 

The southern Italian city of Bari is the setting for this fast-moving thriller from documentary filmmaker Daniele Vicari.  Based on a crime bestseller it adapts well to the big screen with its luxury location shots and contemporary subject matter.  It’s a chalk and cheese story of two young guys from opposite ends of the social spectrum who diverge with a common interest: gambling.

 

Elio Germano (My Brother is an Only Child) plays Giorgio a well-heeled, quick-witted law student who hides his winnings in hard-back classics and Francesco (Michele Riondino) is just a hard-nosed card shark with a bed-ridden mother you feel he rather resents.

 

Kicking off as small time card tricksters in the local bars and nightclubs, the two rub shoulders with bored,

Society housewives and unscrupulous businessmen. Soon they develop more sophisticated scams and the big money starts to roll in. We can’t help feeling that for Giorgio’s it’s just a game.  But for Francesco it’s all he has.

 

The action switches to the road as they expand their horizons from Bari to Barcelona and from gambling to drug dealing. From sunny seascapes and sophisticated scenarios the story takes a darker and more sinister hue as Giorgio spirals down into drug abuse from risk-taking respectability while Francesco develops full-blown misogyny in scenes of bloody-nosed violence.

 

This is where their characters fuse into a well of negativity but their friendship starts to fall apart.  And there’s no prize for guessing who sees the light at the end of the tunnel and manages to morph his misspent youth into a respectable future.

 

This is a cracking thriller and there is much to be admired in Vicari’s skill as a film-maker with his finger on the emotional pulse and his eye firmly on the action.

 

 

 

Director Daniele Vicari

Chiara Caselli, Elio Germano, Valentina Lodovini Michele Riondino

**** 127 mins 15

 

The southern Italian city of Bari is the setting for this fast-moving thriller from documentary filmmaker Daniele Vicari.  Based on a crime bestseller it adapts well to the big screen with its luxury location shots and contemporary subject matter.  It’s a chalk and cheese story of two young guys from opposite ends of the social spectrum who diverge with a common interest: gambling.

 

Elio Germano (My Brother is an Only Child) plays Giorgio a well-heeled, quick-witted law student who hides his winnings in hard-back classics and Francesco (Michele Riondino) is just a hard-nosed card shark with a bed-ridden mother you feel he rather resents.

 

Kicking off as small time card tricksters in the local bars and nightclubs, the two rub shoulders with bored,

Society housewives and unscrupulous businessmen. Soon they develop more sophisticated scams and the big money starts to roll in. We can’t help feeling that for Giorgio’s it’s just a game.  But for Francesco it’s all he has.

 

The action switches to the road as they expand their horizons from Bari to Barcelona and from gambling to drug dealing. From sunny seascapes and sophisticated scenarios the story takes a darker and more sinister hue as Giorgio spirals down into drug abuse from risk-taking respectability while Francesco develops full-blown misogyny in scenes of bloody-nosed violence.

 

This is where their characters fuse into a well of negativity but their friendship starts to fall apart.  And there’s no prize for guessing who sees the light at the end of the tunnel and manages to morph his misspent youth into a respectable future.

 

This is a cracking thriller and there is much to be admired in Vicari’s skill as a film-maker with his finger on the emotional pulse and his eye firmly on the action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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