sorry for the mistakes
in casa Varriale
watching a Mario Salieri film in a censored version (or sexy comedy, as
they say) takes half the pleasure out of it. It must also be said that
the hardcore sequences would not have added much to the story, but they
would certainly have been interesting moments.
Apart from this "fundamental" shortcoming, I cannot question the
intention of the director who, as the film's presentation says,
"proposes a radical reinterpretation of the "Italian-style sexy
comedy"; in Mario Salieri's reinterpretation, the differences with the
past are numerous and the distinctive features of the genre, founded on
eroticism and comedy, are combined with dramatic overtones and themes
of social denunciation". However, I am more sceptical about the final
result with this mix of genres that has really confused me.
"Natale in casa Varriale" immediately shows its intentions, that is, to
mix the sacred with the profane, and it does so with some (very long)
opening titles that mix shocking images from the 80s with other images,
let's say more pop. From the Bologna massacre, for example, to Super
Mario. In the background, very much in the background, two real events,
the attacks on the airports of Fiumicino and Vienna on 27 December
1985, the period in which the story takes place, at Varriale's house.
In Naples. Of course.
The whole thing unfolds along the lines of Neapolitan farce mixed with
drama/action elements. The latter are very confusing and vague and fail
to deliver as the story unfolds.
The Varriale family (Franco Pinelli and Anika Russo), a nice Neapolitan
couple are engaged in some "minor" illegal activity (arms dealing and
usury) and are set to entertain friends and relatives for Christmas.
There is his brother-in-law (Carlo Maratea) a convinced ex-fascist,
married to a woman much younger than him played by the always beautiful
Roberta Gemma. There is her brother (Francesco Malcom), a brigadista, a
friend of two Palestinian terrorists, who he takes with him. Then there
are other characters inserted a bit forcibly into the story and
basically useless (or good for hard scenes).
From Christmas Eve until 27 December, they all meet at the Varriale's
house, where political discussions break out, bellies are filled and
lots, and thay fuck often with Roberta Gemma, who gives herself to the
Palestinians, and with the maid (Kira Queen). But the Palestinians also
plan the two aforementioned attacks, and may be the perpetrators
themselves, or at least within the organisation. The film ends with a
tribute to all the fallen of terrorism.
No stranger to mixing historical facts with hard facts (fuck... in this
case only with eroticism), Salieri tries to revive the 80s by throwing
in a lot of songs from that time and evoking objects.
And I repeat, I don't doubt the attempt, but the whole thing is a bit
forced and I didn't quite understand what he ultimately wants to tell
us. Maybe nothing, maybe something else. Of course Roberta Gemma is
always beautiful (yes, I've already said that).
Controversial coda: it's not mine. The film was presented at the
Salerno International Film Festival, which included the possibility to
watch and vote for the films online. According to the director himself,
"Natale in casa Varriale" topped the list, but the votes, says Salieri,
were falsified by fake accounts and so on, all to make his film lose,
perhaps uncomfortable or perhaps unloved.