‘Leonora Addio’ Review: Paolo Taviani Honors Brother, a Poet and a Film

Berlin: Taviani is constantly finding new ways to rekindle her loss, just as the film is constantly reinventing itself.

A lopsided dichotomy that connects an intimate travel tale through Italian cinema and history with a rather shaky literary adaptation, Paolo Tavianibelong to “Leonora Addio, is in theory a Valentine’s greeting for the Sicilian poet and playwright Luigi Pirandello, and in fact an extended homage to the filmmaker’s brother, Vittorio. But then, with the brothers’ seven-decade partnership, which earned them the Palme d’Or, the Golden Bear, and the Lion of Lifetime Achievement in Venice (among several other glories), and only ended with Vittorio’s death in 2018, how could 90-year-old Paolo Taviani’s first solo effort be anything else?

And so, after his first dedication “To My Brother Vittorio,” Taviani is constantly finding new ways to rekindle his loss, just as the film is constantly reinventing it. it’s him. A talk that travels not just across land but through moods and styles as well as diverse film forms, “Leonora Addio” finds success in some registers more than others, delivering The experience at different points is extremely emotional and quite confusing, although thankfully the former is better than the latter.

Uniting different themes is the spirit of Luigi Pirandello, the famous author who died in 1936, two years after winning the Nobel Prize for literature. The film begins with archival footage of that ceremony, with the author’s own words voiced by actor Roberto Herlitzka, before moving into an old, bedridden man in a familiar white room. The three kids enter the scene, but they don’t stay with the kids for long, leaping from young adulthood to middle age to becoming old and gray by the time they approach the man in bed.

Who is this old gentleman? Does he represent Pirandello, Taviani, or astronaut Dave Bowman? While the dub goes on, remember the dedication, “To my children, young today, old tomorrow” that Pirandello once opened one of his books and used again as lyrics by Taviani. dialogue later in the film, the scene’s visual composition (and time fluidity) is clearly reminiscent of the bedroom finale of “2001: A Space Odyssey.” “Leonora Addio” is not afraid to give references.

The answer, of course, is no and all of the above, because the narrative that follows – which follows Pirandello’s remains over a period of twenty years – is clearly filtered through the lens of film memory and history. .

After Pirandello’s death, the Fascist government ordered the body to be cremated and stored in an opulent Roman mausoleum. The ashes were recovered after the war and returned to the author’s hometown of Agrigento, where he was given a traditional funeral and eventually interned in a statue that took another decade to complete. It’s the hard truths of history and the beats that Taviani follows, but the filmmaker doesn’t play at the straight screenplay genre. Instead, he uses that cross-talk to recall the mood and scent of Italy, Year Zero.

While Taviani traces the passage of time between the first and second Pirandello burials using clips from iconic films of that era, including Rosellini’s “Paisan,” the filmmaker I don’t like neo-realism. His taste is too sexy, his frame is too blocky. Like wandering memories, the film revolves around the various curators of Pirandello’s remains, pausing over small vignettes to remember the newspapers an impoverished public would wrap around their bodies to keep warm. , or the difference in taste between Italian and American tobacco, or the songs one could hear returning soldiers sing, all conjured up in wistful black and white.

The film reaches a high level of blur when it follows an unnamed Congressman (Fabrizio Ferracane) who is asked to accompany the ashes from Rome to Agrigento. After an unsuccessful attempt by air, the congressman and his curator took a train down the coast. Filled with young soldiers eager to start a new life and old scum roaming the train with nothing better to do, the boxcar became a microcosm of 1946 Italy while the Congressman , marked by unwavering devotion to his silent companion, feels like an analogue for the filmmaker himself.

Taviani’s light touches and allusions do not falter but lead us into the next part. As local rabbis planned a new funeral for the poet, Taviani allowed this ten-year-old ritual and ceremonial absurdity to coexist harmoniously with the dignity of his return. this right of self-determination.

Unfortunately, that touch faltered in the final third of the film, leaving Pirandello in his final resting place and going from black and white to color and from Italian to English for the final short story adaptation. by the author, “The Nail”. Written just weeks before the author’s death, the story follows Bastianeddu (Matteo Pittiruti), a Sicilian immigrant now living in Brooklyn. Why did the boy decide to kill a younger girl with a nail one day? “On purpose,” was the only answer he or the film gave.

Brings back many of the same actors from the film’s first story (many of whom try to mask their thick Italian accents when speaking in English) and uses characters and clips from the 1984 film by the two brothers “Kaos,” of which four others adapted Stories of Pirandello, “The Nail” is most meaningful as a bridge between then and now – as a way to bring scenes shot by Vittorio turned into a movie made in his honor and memory. That makes for a moving idea, but not a particularly interesting stand-alone work. It’s a shame that a rich and soulful movie starts with a coffin and ends with a nail.

Class B-

“Leonora Addio” to premiere in 2022 Berlin Film festival.

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https://www.indiewire.com/2022/02/leonora-addio-review-paolo-taviani-1234699628/ ‘Leonora Addio’ Review: Paolo Taviani Honors Brother, a Poet and a Film

Olly Dawes

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