Reviewed at Taormina Film Festival, Italy, July 29, 1994. Running time: 82 MIN.
Dino … Victor Cavallo
Luce … Valeria D’Obici
Daniele … Rocco Mortelliti
Son … Roberto D’Alessandria
Mariarosa … Fulvia Mosconi
Analyst … Giancarlo Parodi
“The Imaginary Friend” is a first-person account by a 50-year-old loser who perks up thanks to the encouragement of his (dead) best friend. Innocent and portentous at the same time, this low-budgeter will have to struggle to make it beyond the fest circuit.
Heavily autobiographical second feature by Nico D’Alessandria (“The Emperor of Rome”) is told in a series of complicated flashbacks, with an intrusive voiceover constantly commenting on what the hero Dino (Victor Cavallo) is thinking and feeling.
Dino had a boyhood pal, Daniele, who became a priest. When the adult Daniele (Rocco Mortelliti) dies, Dino loses the few bearings he still has. Two wives have left him, his parents are dead, his radical political beliefs have dried up , and he hasn’t succeeded in a career. He spends his days trudging aimlessly around Rome. But when he begins imagining Daniele has come back to life as a kind of pep-talking guardian angel, Dino’s life changes for the better.
Cavallo, the best thing about the picture, gives the shifting film an anchor. Valeria D’Obici turns in a fine cameo as a long-suffering wife. Much less convincing is the rest of the cast, many of whom appear to be non-pros.