Review: ‘First Give Me a Kiss’

Pretty as a picture and twice as sweet, pic is an old-fashioned "Peter Ibbetson" tale without the surrealism. Helmer Ambrogio Lo Giudice makes a respectable bow as feature director after years shooting music videos for mature auds. November release was greeted with a tepid embrace, but offshore hopes won't even make it to first base.

Pretty as a picture and twice as sweet, “First Give Me a Kiss” is an old-fashioned “Peter Ibbetson” tale without the surrealism. Helmer Ambrogio Lo Giudice makes a respectable bow as feature director after years shooting pop music videos for mature auds, but his script is strictly the stuff of Harlequin romances. An early November release was greeted with a tepid embrace, but offshore hopes won’t even make it to first base.

Adele and Marcello, born at the same moment, are inseparable as kids. When they are 10, they exchange rubber washer rings in a mock wedding, but soon World War II breaks out and Adele moves away with her parents. Their mystical bond remains, and more than 10 years later a pregnant Adele (Stefania Rocca) seeks out old friend Loris (Luca Zingaretti), now a priest, to learn where Marcello (Marco Cocci) has gone. The reunion of the star-crossed lovers occurs with predictable swelling music, but more than an hour passes before they extricate themselves from entanglements and live a life written in the heavens. Neither the handsome lensing nor Rocca’s quiet intelligence can lift this beyond a Sunday TV movie-of-the-week.

First Give Me a Kiss

Italy

Production

A UIP release of a Sunflower production. Produced by Valerio Morabito, Marco Belardi. Directed, written by Ambrogio Lo Giudice.

Crew

Camera (color), Filippo Corticelli; editor, Paolo Manzoni; music, Lucio Dalla, Fabio Anastasi; production designer, Leonardo Scarpa; costume designer, Paola Bonucci Collacciani. Reviewed at Sala V.I.P., Rome, Nov. 4, 2003. Running time: 87 MIN.

With

Stefania Rocca, Marco Cocci, Luca Zingaretti, Camilla Filippi, Fiorella Mannoia, Giulia Steigerwalt, Davide Pola, Valeria Ghignone.
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