Winners of a "Digital 2000" contest were each given 50 million lira ($25,000), a digital camera, a crew and actors to shoot their short films. The results, released as an anthology of six stories are competent but underwhelming. Cable play may be in the cards for certain individual shorts, though it's unlikely for compilation as a whole.

Winners of a “Digital 2000″ contest were each given 50 million lira ($25,000), a digital camera, a professional crew and actors to shoot their proposed short films, which taken together form “the first Italian movie totally shot in digital.” The results, released as an anthology of six stories unrelated in theme, tone or genre, are competent but underwhelming. Cable play may be in the cards for certain individual shorts, though it’s unlikely for compilation as a whole.

Horror entry “Spacious, Bright, Close to Subway” is set in an empty apartment that’s up for sale. Apartment was once the site of a gruesome murder, according to the rumor spread by a middle-aged man to dissuade a woman from buying the home he covets. Once she leaves, however, the tale takes on a life of its own in the man’s mind, now starring the woman who stalks him with an ax through the desolate rooms and elongated and distorted hallways.

In the romantic comedy “Blind Date,” a neophyte burglar sent to case a supposedly empty house, encounters a young woman expecting a blind date. The two exchange nervous, cross-purposed misunderstandings through a haze of burgeoning sexual attraction that soon has them tearing off each other’s clothes.

“The Guest,” a moody tone poem of loneliness and regret, clocks in as the longest, most enigmatic segment: A man entrusts his wife to a paying “guest,” her prostitution apparently their only means of survival . What’s going on upstairs, which remains unseen, psychologically overlays the ordinary summer night’s sights and sounds of the outdoor cafe where the husband waits.

High concept rules the day in “A Second Chance,” wherein a teenager commits suicide to wind up at a heavenly computer station. The dour bureaucrat processing the kid’s forms, not too happy with the extra paperwork self-slaughter necessitates, convinces the teen to give living another shot, with unexpected results.

CGI animation is the whole raison d’etre of “Diana’s Smile,” a whimsical meditation on unrequited cross-species love. When a woman moves into a bug-ridden apartment, she goes on a frenzy of extermination and cleaning. Interrupted midspray by a telephone call, she spares the life of a spider with a smile, causing the arachnid to be smitten.

“A Kind of Appointment,” a gloomy period prison drama, centers on a time machine fueled by an electric chair. A bargain struck between two prisoners leads to twice-lived deprivation and a long-awaited revenge.

Basically, “Six Out of Six” never ventures far beyond a twist-heavy short-form compendium. Only “The Guest” eschews the overtelegraphed “gotcha!” ending, managing to quietly if uneconomically capture a moment in time.

Tech credits are OK, though some juve helmers paint their uncheery visions in rather unimaginative sickly shades of green and brown.

Six Out of Six

Italy

Production

Spacious, Bright, Close to Subway: An Alia Films production. Produced by Enzo Procelli. Directed, written by Massimo Cappelli. Blind Date: An Iter Film production. Produced by Laurentina Guidotti. Directed, written by Herbert Simone Paragnani. The Guest: An Ariete Film production. Produced by Vincenzo De Leo, Roberto Cicutto. Directed, written by Guerino Sciulli. Second Chance: A Filtre production. Produced by Grazia Volpi. Directed, written by Anselmo Talotta. Diana's Smile: A Cattleya production. Produced by Francesca Longardi. Directed by Luca Lucini. Screenplay, Mauro Spinelli. A Kind of Appointment: A R&C Produzioni production. Produced by Tilde Corsi, Gianni Romoli. Directed, written by Andrea Zaccariello.

Crew

A Cinecitta Holding presentation in collaboration with the Italian Ministry for Cultural Affairs. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (World Cinema), Aug. 31, 2002. Running time: 100 MIN. Spacious, Bright, Close to Subway: Camera (color), Raoul Gelsini; editor, Nicola Barnaba. Original title: Ampio, luminoso, vincino metre. Running time: 20 MIN. Blind Date: Camera (color), Gian Enrico Bianchi; editors, Mauro & Alessandra Bonnani. Original title: Appuntamento al buio. Running time: 10 MIN. The Guest: Camera (color), Marco Pontecorvo; editor, Paulo Petrucci. Original title: L'ospite. Running time: 17 MIN. Second Chance: Camera (color), Marco Pontecorvo; editor, Carlo Balestrieri. Original title: Una seconda occasione. Running time: 13 MIN. Diana's Smile: Camera (color), Manfred Archinto; editor, Nicola Barnaba. Original title: Il sorriso di Diana. Running time: 15 MIN. A Kind of Appointment: Camera (color), Giancarlo Lodi. Original title: Una specie di appuntamento. Running time: 21 MIN.

With

Spacious, Bright, Close to Subway: With: Ivano Marescotti, Lucia Poli. Blind Date: With: Maddalena Maggi, Claudio Santamaria, Ennio Fantastichini. The Guest: With: Girodano De Plano, Monica Sagaria Rossi. Second Chance:With: Stefano Scandaletti, Rolando Ravello. Diana's Smile: With: Anita Caprioli. A Kind of Appointment:With: Luca Zingaretti, Massimo Bellinzoni.
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