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November 04, 2018

Denver Film Festival - Euphoria


Valeria Golino - 2018
01 Distribution

"I didn't confront this topic with a rational and clear cut point of view about death, it was more of an irrational attitude. Although, on second thought, if I have to portray an existential topic in today's world, in which everything is ephemeral, I search for what has remained untouched, and in this sense death is the absolute protagonist". - Valeria Golino

Euphoria is Valeria Golino's second feature as a director. Like her debut, Honey, death, or more precisely, how it is dealt with is explored. Ettore, a middle-aged school teacher, has what has been described to him as simply a cyst. He lives in the provincial town of Nepi, the family home. He stays with his distinctly younger brother, Matteo, in Rome while getting treatment. Matteo is a successful marketer, who in his own words makes one-hundred times the income of Ettore, who made a point of leaving Nepi. Ettore is more bothered by Matteo being gay than the casual drug use. Matteo keeps secret his knowledge that Ettore's condition is incurable. Honey was about the question of chosen, and assisted, suicide by people who were aware of their condition. Euphoria asks if it is best for the patient to be aware of impending death, and with whom should such knowledge be shared.

This is a bittersweet tale of what brings the brothers together as well as temporary conflicts. As a visual stylist, Golino has a preference for dolly shots moving forward through streets and hallways, and some sets that are not quite monochrome, but are dominated frequently in blue. The combination results in a dream like quality, especially in one scene taking place where Matteo and his nephew, Ettore's son, visit an exhibit with computerized imagery on the wall. The water of an indoor swimming pool is rendered a deep blue, while the surrounding walls are made of small tiles of varying blue shades. The interior settings often emphasize the artificial, while exteriors are in natural light.

The story was inspired by the life of one of Golino's friends. The euphoria of the film is inspired by the self awareness of the brothers, especially following Matteo's binges of drug use and casual sex. The film is leisurely paced. Unlike Hollywood films which often fall into the trap of dictating to the audience how to feel about characters and situations, Golino allow for her characters to behave as they would without comment.

Euphoria was part of "Un Certain Regard" at last May's Cannes Film Festival, and only recently opened in Italy. There is no US distributor for this film noted at this time.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at November 4, 2018 08:01 AM