LFF 2015 – Latin Lover, Arabian Nights

Latin Lover 

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Charming Italian comedy-drama from director Cristina Comencini about the ex-wives (Virna Lisi, Marisa Parides) of lothario movie star Saverio Crispo (Francesco Scianna) and his many daughters from around the world reuniting at a commemorative event celebrating his life and work. Latin Lover contains wonderful recreations of classic era Italian cinema and the genres popular in the 50s’ through to the 70s’. Neo-realism, spaghetti westerns, romantic comedies, and left-wing political cinema are all mimicked perfectly. These clips are the only time we see Saverio onscreen so he remains an enigma until gradually through the stories these women tell each other we begin to get a clear idea of what kind of man Sevario was. However the arrival of an eccentric stranger throws the event into chaos. Pedro (Lluis Homar) was Saverio’s stunt double and claims to know a few secrets about Sevario’s past. Warm and funny, Hollywood’s probably negotiating for the remake rights right about now. 

Arabian Nights 

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Miguel Gomes three-part documentary combining stories from Scheherazade’s One Thousand and One Nights with a state of the nation documentary looking at the effects of the economic collapse on Portugal. Arabian Nights opens with Gomes depressed at his inability to film Scheherazade’s tales and berating himself for wanting to in the first place. How can he possibly justify telling transient stories that do no engage with the present? he reasons calling this desire “dandyism.” Yet he manages it, switching between documentary essay and contemporary rewordings of the Scheherazade. Arabian Night meanders somewhat but at it’s best it’s an exhilarating mixture of political commentary and the fantastical.

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