DVD - 2013 | Italian
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A darkly comic look at Luciano, a charming and affable fishmonger whose unexpected and sudden obsession with being a contestant on the reality show Big Brother leads him down a rabbit hole of skewed perceptions and paranoia. So overcome by his dream of being on reality TV, Luciano's own reality begins to spiral out of control.
Publisher: [United States] : Oscilloscope Laboratories, c2013
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (117 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in
Credits: Music, Alexandre Desplat ; editor, Marco Spoletini ; director of photography, Marco Onorato.
Performers: Aniello Arena, Loredana Simioli, Nando Paone, Nello Iorio, Nunzia Schiano, Rosaria D'urso.
Audience: MPAA rating: R; for some language
Language Note: In Italian, with optional subtitles in English or French
UPC: 896602002494
Alternative Title: Realtà


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Jan 01, 2017

I saw this movie knowing nothing at all about it. This is one of those films in which one can just allow the director to lay out his story without doing any historical or biographical research. The only thing I will disclose is that the lurid costumes and rooms, the extreme character body types and flamboyant colors reminded me of Fellini. The protagonist is played by a real-life mafia hit man who had already served my years of a 20 year to life prison sentence for a double murder. The judge was convinced to allow him to leave the prison in the daytime for the daily shooting (no pun intended).

Dec 31, 2014

At the insistence of his star-struck children mild-mannered Luciano, a Neapolitan fishmonger, applies to be a contestant on a popular reality show. With his family and neighbours cheering him on Luciano eagerly waits to hear from the studio; but as the days wear on without a word and his family’s enthusiasm wanes, a despondent Luciano becomes convinced that the show’s producers are secretly spying on him in order to determine his worthiness. To prove to these invisible observers that he is indeed suitable television material Luciano goes to increasingly bizarre lengths; he gives his family’s possessions to the poor, sells his fish shop, and approaches every stranger as if they are keeping tabs on him...even a stray cricket is not above suspicion. As his behaviour escalates, much to the dismay of his suffering family, Luciano finally gets the exposure he’s been waiting for; but it is not what anyone expected. Matteo Garrone’s exploration of our obsession with celebrity in a world where anyone can be famous just because they’re famous starts out as a loud and flamboyant satire but slowly moves into darker psychological territory as its comedic elements give way to...reality; the final scene was truly chilling. Unfortunately it suffers from an acute lack of editing with some scenes rambling on far too long and shrill arguments becoming increasingly repetitive. Great premise though.

Dec 16, 2013

Great film.

Fittingly, it's made in the style of cinéma vérité, which is something the Italians (and French) do quite well.

The story raises interesting questions about where we draw the line between our public and private lives. We are living in an age where nothing is private any more. Big Brother is truly watching us, but instead of shunning the attention, some people seem to welcome it.

A second thread running through the story is how difficult it has become to identify clinical paranoia in the modern era. How can you reasonably claim that someone is deluded for thinking that they're "being watched" --when, in fact, they ARE being watched.

For people who want to read more about this phenomenon, Google the term "unreality star." There's a great piece in the New Yorker. (That's how I heard about this film.)


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