Saturn In Opposition

Saturn In Opposition


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The pursuit of happiness is never ending because when you think you have found it things change. Those who pick at the wound don’t heal and those who get on with life without questioning the meaning of contentment are more likely to survive an invasion of privilege.

Five minutes into Saturn In Opposition and you want to hail a cab. Here, in the realm of ensemble pictures, is another group of thirty/fortysomething professionals who live in spotless, designed-influenced apartments, with stainless steel kitchens, because they all cook (well), especially the men. And that’s another thing – they look so damn good, have flat tummies, shiny hair, cool clothes and perfect skin. Even potential wild child Roberta (Ambra Angiolini), the youngest and least recognizable as belonging to such an upwardly mobile crowd, which includes a publisher, a psychiatrist, a banker and an architect, could have walked off the pages of Italian Vogue, with a cocaine habit. Only the diminuitive, rotund, vociferous Neval (Serra Yilmaz), with her cropped dyed hair and policeman husband, 20 years her junior, doesn’t fit the stereotype. In the old days, she would have played a fishwife in a Fellini movie.

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At the centre is Davide (Pierfrancesco Favino) and Lorenzo (Luca Argentero), a well domesticated homosexual couple, although this isn’t a gay flick, it’s a people flick – a rich people flick. There is surprisingly little tactile indulgence, which, for Italians, denotes good manners and the sex is oh-so-discreet. Naturally, there is infidelity, fine wines, kids who don’t get a look in, smoking (everyone’s failing to give up), social issues, bedroom issues and conversation.

Just when you have worked out who belongs to whom and why Angelica (Margherita Buy) is pissed off with Antonio (Stefano Accorsi) and what’s wrong with Laura (Isabella Ferrari) – nothing – and where this is going, something tragic happens and the rest of the movie concentrates on the characters’ responses. Oddly enough, grief brings dignity to the proceedings and the film gains a huge amount from it. No longer is this a study of the many reasons why beauty is an aphrodisiac. It becomes a tribute to friendship as the new family and how forgiveness (not freedom) is another word for nothing left to lose.

The “so what” factor doesn’t go away, because it is difficult to care about these people. Given the chance to spend an afternoon with any of them, it would be a toss up between the florist Laura and Angelica’s eight-year-old daughter, neither of whom are part of the inner circle.

They have it all and yet all can be taken away. What’s left? A beautifully shot, well acted film that sits on the coffee table.

Reviewed on: 17 Nov 2007
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A group of friends in Rome discover than happiness is transient and grief a great healer.

Read more Saturn In Opposition reviews:

Paul Griffiths ***

Director: Ferzan Ozpetek

Writer: Ferzan Ozpetek, Gianni Romoli

Starring: Pierfrancesco Favino, Margherita Buy, Stefano Accorsi, Luca Argentero, Serra Yilmaz, Ambra Angiolini, Isabella Ferrari, Luigi Diberti, Michelangelo Tommaso, Ennio Fantastichini

Year: 2007

Runtime: 110 minutes

Country: Italy

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