72nd Venice International Film Festival: A BIGGER SPLASH

Five years after Io Sono l’Amore (I Am Love), Luca Guadagnino returns to Venice and, once again, is a shower of boos.

This doesn’t mean that the boos are completely justified. We have just to think that I Am Love has grossed $5 million at the US box office; but, above all, it has collected an Oscar and a Golden Globe nomination.

A Bigger Splash, in competition at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival and next month at the London Film Festival, is a remake of the 1969 French movie The Swimming pool. It tells the story of a rock star (Tilda Swinton) who needs a rest after a delicate surgery. She travels to Pantelleria, an Italian island, with her boyfriend (Matthias Schoenaerts, in competition also with The Danish Girl). The plot changes when her former husband (Ralph Fiennes) arrives with his daughter (Dakota Johnson) on the island for a holiday full of old grudges ready to explode.

What can we say?

The plot is really good, a beautiful noir with an extraordinary cast. As always Luca Guadagnino’s direction is literally out of the ordinary. His style is not innovative, we know that; but, as always, it’s personal and present. It’s made of unsettling and never dull cuts with the goal to make the movie “heard” by the audience. An audience who, on some topics, is already too bored. As in I Am Love, also in A Bigger Splash, there are brilliant touches: Fiennes and Dakota Johnson “land” in Swinton and Schoenaerts’ life as a shadow…as on the screen they arrive on a plane as a shadow on the happy couple who is sunbathing near the swimming pool.

Guadagnino tells the difficulty to understand each other, as in the real life, with an uncomfortable closeness and by covering some lines with the soundtrack, as in I Am Love.

So, what went wrong?

To destroy the last quarter of this, until here, fantastic movie, unfortunately, is the presence of Corrado Guzzanti as the police sergeant. An actor not up neither of the main cast, nor the film itself; but also an ending that seems drawn at random.

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