Seven Days

***1/2

Reviewed by: Tara Karajica

7 Days
"Moving, thoughtful and thought-provoking."

“Can love be controlled or is it love that controls us?” is the question posed and answered by Swiss director Rolando Colla’s third feature film 7 Days, a bucolic and seemingly impossible love story. Hot off its world premiere at this year’s Zurich Film Festival, it now screens in the Main Competition at the Black Nights Film Festival.

The film is the story of Ivan and Chiara who meet on the Sicilian island of Levanzo to organise the wedding of his brother Richard and Chiara’s best friend Francesca. Ivan, a fortysomething botanist, cannot fathom how he is supposed to work in a place he considers underdeveloped and inhabited by miserable people. However, he sees he can rely on Chiara, a costume designer, who is excited by the organisation of the happy event and stimulated by her surroundings. They get on well from the outset and, assisted by the nature and its beauty, they inevitably fall in love. They realise, however, that it is not easy giving in to their feelings as they both have their own separate lives to sort out and demons to confront - Ivan is afraid of serious commitment having not yet overcome the pain sustained from his past romance while Chiara does not want to jeopardise a 15-year long relationship. So, they decide to live their romantic dream for just a few days and break it off once the wedding guests arrive.

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This follow-up to Colla's 2011 coming-of-age film Summer Games is a tale of growing up and discovery for adults; an Italian island-set Bridges Of Madison County of sorts. 7 Days is not perfect, but it is sincere and unadorned and its charm lies precisely there. At its core, it is a simple story about complicated feelings and circumstances filmed in a highly observational manner. Everything is raw, from the feelings and hope it depicts to the way the actors depict them, the conception and the imagery. It is so real it almost feels like a voyeuristic documentary or social experiment on how fast two adults on an almost deserted island can feel attracted to one another and even fall in love. This also exactly why it is easy for the audience to relate to them and the despair of a possibly finite time for happiness it portrays as well as the message it ultimately delivers - it is never too late for love and happiness.

The film’s other source of power comes from the harmony and balance between its freedom from artificiality and occasional off-kilter characteristics; between a conventional love-story and a mere fling, heightened by the absorbing silences filled by loneliness, solitude and nature. In fact, the latter can be considered a third character in this intense pas de deux, a sort of Cupid, aided by the freedom and carefree atmosphere of the insular surroundings. This Sicilian landscape is nimbly and delicately captured by Lorenz Merz’s diaphanous soft focus lensing, coupled with soulful close-ups that give the film an extra layer of bareness. But, there is also an inherent Italian feel to this midlife meditation on the most intricate feelings of all in its directing and writing style.

7 Days is hopeful, moving, thoughtful and thought-provoking. If you have lost all hope in love and happiness, then watch Rolando Colla’s latest directorial effort that lays it all bare.

Reviewed on: 19 Nov 2016
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Seven Days packshot
Can a couple stay in control of their whirlwind romance?

Director: Rolando Colla

Writer: Heloise Adam, Rolando Colla, Olivier Lorelle

Starring: Bruno Todeschini, Alessia Barela, Gianfelice Imparato, Aurora Quattrocchi, Marc Barbé, Linda Olsansky, Fabrizio Pizzuto, Benedetto Raneli, Renato Lenzi, Catriona Guggenbühl, Armen Godel, Laurence Montandon

Year: 2016

Runtime: 96 minutes

Country: Italy, Switzerland

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