Now Or Never

Now Or Never


Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

David Jachia (Jacopo Bonvinici) is a student at the University of Pisa, during the summer of 2001, a month or so before the G8 meeting in Genoa. He has only one more exam to go before he graduates with a prestigious degree that should open all sorts of doors. But his life is about to take an unexpected turn.

Noticing the beautiful Viola (Violante Placido) handing out fliers for a anti-globalisation meeting David decides to go along. He's long had a thing for the girl, since they met briefly three years ago, though she probably doesn't remember him, and her significant other Luca (Edoardo Gabbrielini) seems to be the ideological leader of the movement - to the extent that this group of green/red/black/pinkos will consent to having such.

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At the meeting, David finds himself suggesting a name for the movement and, after they go to set up a squat-cum-commune, writing their press release. He's forgotten all about his exam, but the others make him feel part of something meaningful in a way that physics rarely did.

The police inevitably show up, but the destruction of the commune only galvanises David's commitment - that plus the fact that Viola is taking an interest in him, much to Luca's chagrin.

After an altercation with a junkie, hanging round the second commune, which leads to Luca's (rather too schematic) departure, David finds himself responsible for masterminding the trip to G8. The only problem is that it's the same day as his rescheduled exam...

Opening in media res with the destruction of the original commune and then backtracking to show David's place within the story, Now Or Never is an assured piece of work, with credible characters and a solid grounding in a particular time and place.

The film has its flaws, however. Luca's reference to wanting to avoid a Jules Et Jim scenario - pleading to the arthouse gallery - is one and the seemingly interminable series of endings, coupled with the failure to discuss the impact of September 11th on David's thinking, another.

But these are relatively minor issues when, elsewhere, personal and political concerns are successfully integrated and points are scored - the group hang a banner from the Leaning Tower that reads "The tower is straight, the world is crooked" - without succumbing to didacticism.

Merely by eschewing that tired old Bertolucci nostalgia for an age that never existed, May '68 and all that, Now Or Never is all the more to be welcomed as a film that actually seeks to connect with the realities for the present generation, rather than their Baby Boomer parents.

Reviewed on: 09 Apr 2004
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Now Or Never packshot
A student in Pisa discovers life after physics in an anti-globalisation commune.
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Director: Lucio Pellegrini

Writer: Lucio Pellegrini, Angelo Carbone, Roan Johnson

Starring: Jacopo Bonvicini, Violante Placido, Edoardo Gabbriellini, Elio Germano, Camilla Filippi, Riccardo Scamarcio, Francesco Mandelli, Toni Bertorelli

Year: 2003

Runtime: 96 minutes

Country: Italy


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