Review: ‘Feminine, Singular’

Claudio Del Punta's sometimes frantic, sometimes thoughtful "Feminine, Singular" is a kind of "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman" that falls far short of its sweet-minded intentions. More reminiscent of low-budget American indies than any strains in current Italian cinema, pic too often attempts to make up for erratic dramatics with pointless stylistic exercises, such as repeated TV-style jump cuts. None of this helps a fundamentally simple though incomplete story of artistic and personal flowering, and won't help pic gather many non-Italian markets or fest spots.

Claudio Del Punta’s sometimes frantic, sometimes thoughtful “Feminine, Singular” is a kind of “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman” that falls far short of its sweet-minded intentions. More reminiscent of low-budget American indies than any strains in current Italian cinema, pic too often attempts to make up for erratic dramatics with pointless stylistic exercises, such as repeated TV-style jump cuts. None of this helps a fundamentally simple though incomplete story of artistic and personal flowering, and won’t help pic gather many non-Italian markets or fest spots.

Opening reels unfold in a manner closer to slapdash than effectively frenetic as inexperienced Rome painter Vera (Cristina Moglia) tries to choose a dress to wear to a gallery opening that may be her big break. Picking through clothes triggers Proustian memories of childhood and old boyfriends, while current pals (Valentina Chico and Vincenzo Peluso) help keep her spirits up. Ambitious choice of an “8 1/2”-like story structure is too weighty for such a light tale, though helmer elicits a likable, if unmemorable, perf from Moglia and manages to calm down in a few scenes to let us take in the artist’s process.

Feminine, Singular

(DRAMA -- ITALIAN)

Production

A Paso Doble Film production. Produced by Giuliana Del Punta. Directed, edited by Claudio Del Punta. Screenplay, Doriana Leondeff, Claudio Del Punta. Camera (Augustus color), Patrizio Patrizi; art director, Marianna Sciveres; costume designer, Francesca Leondeff. Reviewed at AFI screening room, L.A., Oct. 14, 1999. (In AFI/L.A. Film Festival --- European Film Showcase.) Running time: 104 MIN.

With

With: Cristina Moglia, Danny Quinn, Valentina Chico, Vincenzo Peluso, Lorenza Indovina.
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