In Memory Of Me

In Memory Of Me

DVD Rating: ***1/2

Reviewed by: Anton Bitel

Read Paul Griffiths's film review of In Memory Of Me

Wisely, there is no director's commentary here, as so much talk would seem out of place over a film so very silent.

Instead, there is a 25-minute interview (in English) with director Saverio Costanzo, in which he compares and contrasts In Memory Of Me with his earlier film Private, and suggests that his latest 'psychodrama' offers a portrait of humanity through one man divided into three (although he does not confuse the issue by employing the term 'trinity'). It is, he says, a movie that "doesn't give you all the answers". He also praises Andrea Palladio (who designed the austerely angular St George's Island monastery in Venice, where the film was shot) as "the Stanley Kubrick of architects", and bemoans the difficulty faced by contemporary Italian filmmakers in trying to escape their nation's great post-war cinematic tradition.

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Best of all is Men Of God, a 44-minute featurette in which Costanzo and his leads Christo Jivkov, Fausto Russi Alesi, Filippo Timi, Marco Baliani and André Hennicke are individually interviewed on-set. We learn that all prepared for the film by taking a ten-day spiritual retreat, whose strict regime clearly had a profound effect on each of them.

Costanzo goes so far as to suggest that his cast literally became one with their characters, while everyone draws fascinating comparisons between Loyola's Spiritual Exercises (as practised by Jesuit novices) and the Stanislawski Method of acting. Costanzo declares his belief that Zanna, rather than Andrea, "is the hero of the film", and states that he had always wanted Andrea to leave in the end, but that for the purposes of structural contrast he needed him to stay.

Each actor is unusually articulate and insightful about his character (where so many other DVDs' extras merely have the cast restate what can easily be gleaned from just watching the film) – and we also get to see Hennicke, a native German, being coached in English on the proper delivery of his Italian lines. That the performance which emerged from this exercise was so finely tuned speaks volumes about his talents.

There are also the usual trailers and, of course, optional English titles.

Reviewed on: 25 Mar 2008
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In Memory Of Me packshot
A man tired of his superficial life decides to join the priesthood but finds a web of deceit in the monastery which makes him question his faith.
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Product Code: ART374DVD

Region: 2

Ratio: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen

Sound: Dolby digital 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Making-of featurette, interview with director, original theatrical trailer, Artificial Eye trailer reel

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