After their great debut with La terra dell’abbastanza (Boys Cry, 2018), the brothers Damiano and Fabio D’Innocenzo have produced a film that deserves all the awards it has received, including five Nastri d’argento, and a prize at the Berlin Film Festival.
The brothers describe Favolacce (Bad Tales), as a contrast to the realism of their first work, a sort of black fable in which, through the voice of a narrator, they portray the pneumatic vacuum of the parental figures (with the addition of a teacher) who attempt to teach their children how to live, while instead they have lost any capacity for positivity or a glimpse of the future.
Psychological violence, repression, anger and hypocrisy are some of the main themes of the D’Innocenzo brothers’ newest work. The story, narrated chorally, takes place through a Roman summer, between the closing of the school and its reopening in September. Hypocrisy, rivalry and envy are hidden under the appearance of normal life, and lives that go on by force of inertia.
Spinaceto, the place in which the story is set, is a microcosm that fails to unify experiences, dilutes the perceptions of those who live there and never becomes a measurable and livable space, but only a place of encounters and the contrast of daily experiences. The people who live in these areas are neither good nor bad, they are primary people, living their daily lives, without ideals or ethical values. The film is “mono-tone,” in the sense that whatever happens, from daily routine to unexpected tragedy, is always experienced with the same degree of emotion.
The D’Innocenzo brothers use an extreme visual language, echoing Pasolini – from the very tight close-ups of the protagonists to the apparently insignificant details – and sometimes distort the images to make them look like waking nightmares. They are also masters of off-screen filming; in fact, no violence takes place in front of the viewers’ eyes: sometimes it is alluded to, as in the horrified gaze of the protagonist. It is a film to watch carefully, a black tale that is a warning and a life lesson for all of us.