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Sunday, June 30, 2013

THE FACE OF ANOTHER Review - Open Roads: New Italian Cinema 2013

Courtesy of Rai Cinema

2013, 83 minutes
Not Rated

Review by Joshua Handler

Pappi Corsicato’s The Face of Another can best be described as a mix of Fellini, Matteo Garrone’s Reality, with a heavy dose of early, campy Almodóvar.  It is insane, hilarious, and bizarre like few others.  The film follows a woman who, after being let go by her television show and getting her face smashed in after a car accident, decides to fake disfigurement with the help of her plastic surgeon husband to get a large amount of insurance money.  This is only the beginning of the insanity that unfolds. 

The film opens on a group of plastic surgery patients on the lawn of their plastic surgery resort with opera music playing in the background.  It is surreal, cinematic, and hilarious.  Corsicato has a great handle on this wacky material and has a real knack for directing it.  Creating a film like The Face of Another is extremely hard, as one has to keep the lunacy in check while still supplying enough and making it crazy enough to be unique. 

The actors are all completely game for whatever Corsicato gives them, and this makes the film especially entertaining.  All of the actors give pitch perfect performances, but it is Laura Chiatti as Bella, the lead, who has serious charisma and charm.  She commands the screen and performs her outrageous role naturally.

The Face of Another is also a really funny satire on celebrity obsession that just isn’t quite as sharp as it thinks it is.  While it certainly is funny, it doesn’t have as much of a punch at the end as I wish it had. 

Corsicato is smart enough to allow his film to get crazy when it needs to be.  As it keeps going, The Face of Another keeps getting crazier and crazier before its (literally) explosive finale.  While it is definitely frontloaded with the insanity and definitely fizzles a bit towards the end, it keeps consistently entertaining and engaging, never letting itself get boring.

Overall, The Face of Another was by far the best movie I saw at this year’s disappointing Open Roads: New Italian Cinema 2013 Festival.  It is simply a ridiculous amount of fun and was a really great way to spend 82 minutes.  Unfortunately, this film has no American distributor, so audiences here may not get to see it for a while.  If it is released in America, see it.


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