Reviewed at Sorrento Festival, Italy (competing), Dec. 11, 1993. Running time: 90 MIN.
Stephanie … Francesca De Rose
Marco … Massimiliano Franciosa
Elena … Federica Mastroianni
Arturo …Angela Sorino
Fra Gustavo … Daniele Formica
Sergio … Mattia Sbragia
Small-town inertia weighs heavily on the 20-ish protagonists of “Cardboard Stars,” a gentle reflection on the dreams and ambitions of middle-class youth in the Italian provinces. Unassuming charm, appealing performers and restrained use of splendid Spoleto locations should ensure Euro tube sales for Francesco Anzalone’s first feature.
Two Blues Brothers-fixated chums, Marco (Massimiliano Franciosa) and Arturo (Angelo Sorino), co-host a latenight regional radio show which reps the only spark of achievement in their humdrum lives. Parents and other older-generation locals seem as archaically Etruscan to them as the town’s forefathers. When their boss (Mattia Sbragia) tries squeezing their talents for questionable ends, they quit and are forced to confront a basically empty future. Arturo checks out with a homeward-bound Californian (Francesca De Rose), while Marco makes an unwitting transition to sedentary adulthood with his g.f. (Federica Mastroianni).
The pic’s male characters are much better defined than the females. Franciosa and Sorino have an easy, complementary rapport that keeps the material coasting along despite an occasional hint of blandness due largely to the script’s dearth of tangible conflicts. Well-edited effort is technically clean on all counts.