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July 18, 2023



Carolina Cavalli - 2022
Oscilloscope Laboratories

Amanda introduces its titular character as a young woman who simultaneously longs for friendship while closing herself off from breaking her self-isolation. In her mid-Twenties, she is one of a line of single men and women attending revivals of classic films. At a cavernous space, she is one of maybe a dozen people wandering alone to the sound of techno dance music. There is a pervasive sense of disconnection, that Amanda is part of a generation of young adults who choose to isolate themselves from the world, for their own reasons. While this is an Italian film, the story of the difficulty of creating and maintaining active friendships could take place anywhere.

Amanda's family has moved back to Turin after living in Paris. Amanda is encouraged to visit Rebecca, the daughter of her mother's best friend. Rationalizing that had her family not moved, Rebecca and Amanda would have grown up to be best friends, Amanda decides her mission is to ingratiate herself, unaware that Rebecca is both more rebellious and reclusive. It is at this particular moment that Cavalli films actress Benedetta Porcaroli with the film's title superimposed over her image, striding towards the camera like a heroine in her own western, 25 minutes into the film.

The second third of the film is in part about the battle of wills between Amanda and Rebecca. Door slamming from Rebecca eventually gives way to Amanda's persistence. A tentative truce becomes friendship marked by a shared distrust of family and society at large. Amanda and Rebecca's relationship mostly exists in Rebecca's room, in a modern, fortress-like mansion. On her own, Amanda's attempts at relationships turn awry in her small town with would-be boyfriends.

Amanda is the kind of character one can enjoy watching on film, the sometime comic, anti-social, anti-heroine. It is the kind of role that is usually played by male actors as men who are not particularly distinctive except they are in a state of rebellion against either their family or society in general. What would be judged as annoying in real like is amusing to watch on the screen. Carolina Cavalli has noted in an interview that she was inspired by the classic literary characters of Matilda and Pippi Longstocking, wondering what they would have been like as young adults. She has cited filmmakers Aki Kaurismaki and Roy Anderson for a shared sense of off-kilter humor. Currently playing in New York City and Los Angeles, Amanda is scheduled for upcoming theatrical screenings in U.S. art and indie houses.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at July 18, 2023 06:01 AM