Salvatore - Questa E La Vita

Salvatore - Questa E La Vita


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Extending its reach across the continents, Disney drowns Sicily in saccharine in this formulaic tale of triumph over adversity.

Salvatore (Allesandro Mallia) barely has time for a visit to his mum’s grave and a brief and clunky heart-to-heart with his dad (Maurizio Nicolosi) about the importance of school before a nasty accident - which wouldn’t look out of place in an episode of the A Team (or even Lassie) - leaves him orphaned.

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With daddy gone, Salvatore becomes an angry but resourceful young man. He starts skipping school to keep up the family’s fishing and tomato growing business, while looking after his kid sister and grandma. It isn’t long before a social worker (Galatea Ranzi) is sniffing around with talk of church-run institutions, which leaves it up to Salvatore’s teacher (Enrico Lo Verso) to try to save the day. Gosh, kids, do you think he does?

It would flatter Gian Paolo Cugno’s direction to describe it as pedestrian. This is his debut feature and it shows badly. With a plot better suited to afternoon television than the big screen, he fails to give it any cinematic weight. The acting, too, is patchy, though one suspects this is down to the direction more than the talents of those on display; there is no flow to the action, with each scene seeming to need to rev up before it gets going. Mallia is passable enough in the central role but quite unsympathetic as child heroes go, while his teacher is too good to be true. The women, meanwhile, are reduced to being either hectoring or useless.

The script is equally troubled, with far too much expositional talking and not enough action. Given that the film is presumably aimed at children, surely even those who speak Italian must find this a drag. Also, surprisingly for Disney, who are usually quite good at this sort of thing, the bad guy (veteran Giancarlo Giannini) is nowhere near threatening enough and, ultimately, proves just as soft-centred as everything else about this film. Topping off the travesty is a dreadful swooping, omnipresent score by Paolo Vivaldi. Dolmio adverts have more depth.

Reviewed on: 16 Nov 2007
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A young boy has to bring home the bacon after he is orphaned.
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Director: Gian Paolo Cugno

Writer: Gian Paolo Cugno, Paolo Di Reda

Starring: Alessandro Mallia, Enrico Lo Verso, Galatea Ranzi, Giancarlo Giannini, Gabriele Lavia, Lucia Sardo, Maurizio Nicolosi, Ernesto Mahieux

Year: 2006

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: Italy


Italian 2007

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