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November 05, 2010

Starz Denver Film Festival 2010 - Come Undone


Cosavogliodipiu/What More do I Want
Silvio Soldini - 2010
Film Movement

Several times in Come Undone, characters refer to the recession. While no one is in poverty, there are reminders of how expensive day-to-day living can sometimes be, and that finances can be easily upset by things like a child's ballet lessons, or replacing the boss's bottle of champagne. Near the end of Come Undone, one of the pair of lovers tells the other that money decides everything. It is money, or more precisely, those parts of life that are more secure and certain that determine the lives of virtually everyone in Soldini's film.

The film takes place primarily in Milan, yet it could take place almost anywhere. Soldini establishes a universe of people who live in anonymous apartments. Anna works for an insurance company, while her husband, Allesio, runs a small leather goods shop and does repairs on the side. They have what appears to be a settled life of meeting with friends and relatives, quiet nights of watching television. There is some talk of having a child, inspired by the birth of a baby nephew. A fling with a caterer who made a delivery to Anna's office becomes an obsessive relationship between Anna and the married Domenico. The film alternates between Anna and Domenico, both trying to keep up appearances for their respective spouses and families, and find time for each other.

While Soldini makes a solid argument for how money, or the lack of it, can influence some of the bigger choices in our lives, where Come Undone does not work is in convincing us why any of the characters might be in love with each other. On a superficial level, there is a degree of excitement that Domenico may offer Anna, being more conventionally attractive, and of Arabian descent, as opposed to the reliable Allesio, a large teddy bear of a man. This lack of conviction stands in sharp relief when one compares the performance by Alba Rohrwacher as Anna to her role as Tilda Swinton's lesbian daughter in I am Love, where she more effectively conveys her passion simply with her voice, such as when a letter is read in voiceover.

A more youthful appearing Rohrwacher can be seen in Soldini's previous film, Days and Clouds. Chronicling the relationship of a seemingly successful couple that, yes, comes undone, when the husband is unemployed, the earlier film is more convincing in conveying the love that keeps Margherita Buy and Antonio Albanese together, as well as the anxiety that tears them apart. Rohrwacher plays the rebellious daughter of Buy and Albanese, who like the character she would play later in I am Love, finds happiness following her own path. There is nothing wrong with filmmakers revisiting themes. But also choose the guarded optimism of Days and Clouds over the resignation that concludes Come Undone.

(Viewed as DVD screener)

Posted by peter at November 5, 2010 07:05 AM