Review: ‘But When Do The Girls Get Here?’

In his most autobiographical film yet, prolific helmer Pupi Avati revisits his earlier incarnation as a jazz musician, thinly disguising his past to suggest the disappointment of a career sidetracked by life. Helmer's international reputation may tweak arthouse interest, but locally, pic isn't main-taining its strong opening.

In his most autobiographical film yet, prolific helmer Pupi Avati revisits his earlier incarnation as a jazz musician, thinly disguising his past to suggest the disappointment of a career sidetracked by life. Although he’s worked in similar territory before, notably “Jazz Band” and “Bix,” Avati makes “But When Do The Girls Get Here?” more personal, allowing bitterness about thwarted ambitions to leak through. Perhaps because of his closeness to the subject, pic narrates rather than explores, and Avati’s breezy style gets too caught up in enjoying the music at the expense of drama. Helmer’s international reputation may tweak arthouse interest, but locally, pic isn’t maintaining its strong opening.

Upper-middle-class sax player Giancarlo (Paolo Briguglia), Gianca for short, meets working-class trumpeter Nick (Claudio Santamaria) on a train heading for the Umbria Jazz Festival. Both guys are keyed up about auditioning for the music workshop, although Gianca’s years of training in a musical household contrast with Nick’s untutored, natural talent.

Once back in Bologna, grease monkey Nick is introduced to Gianca’s bourgeois family, including sis Gilberta (Selvaggia Quattrini) with whom he strikes up a romance. Meanwhile, the two musicians form a quintet with the crazy Maramotti brothers (Alessio Modica and Enrico Salimbeni) and more stable pianist Marcello (Augusto Fornari), in the hopes of breaking into the jazz scene.

Marcello’s illicit relationship with a wealthy benefactress (Eliana Miglio) pays off when she brings producers to a club to hear them. For the first time, Nick really gets into the swing, impressing everyone but also hogging the limelight. No surprise then, when he’s the one the producers call for. From here, it all becomes a predictable story pitting Nick’s soaring career against Gianca’s frustrated dreams.

The bitterness is compounded by family history: Gianca’s father Ludovico (popular entertainer Johnny Dorelli) is himself a frustrated musician who never got over his career switch to successful businessman. Pic’s title comes from Ludovico’s musings about adult responsibilities, opining that all’s clear and focused until the girls come on the scene, and then life’s path becomes unpredictable — although it’s awfully fun to have them around.

Notwithstanding Ludovico’s sentiment (which Gianca turns into a jazz composition), the women in the film don’t get much to work with. Vittoria Puccini, star of mega-hit TV series “Elisa di Rivombrosa,” looks pretty, but she’s stuck being merely an added source of tension between Gianca and Nick, never allowed to be more than the physical symbol of Gianca’s growing jealousies. Male stars Briguglia and Santamaria have a retro’70s charm, (although pic is set in the 1990s), and handle the jamming scenes with aplomb.

Tech credits on print viewed are problematic, as if rushed to screens before post-production was finished. Color values between shots occasionally don’t match, especially in the earlier scenes, and sound placement needs smoothing out; ditto the ubiquitous dubbing. Jazz tunes are enjoyable, although don’t expect the punchy flavor of “Young Man With a Horn.” Composer Riz Ortolani’s sugary incidental score, however, does no favors to the sometimes precious narration.

But When Do The Girls Get Here?

Italy

Production

An Antonio Avati and Rai Cinema presentation an 01 Distribution release of a DueA Film, RAI Cinema production. Produced by Avati. Directed, written by Pupi Avati

Crew

Camera (color, Cinemascope), Pasquale Rachini; editor, Amedeo Salfa; music, Riz Ortolani; production designer, Simona Migliotti; costume designer, Catia Dottori; sound (Dolby SR), Bruno Pupparo. Reviewed at Cinema Quattro Fontane, Rome, Feb. 22, 2005. Running time: 99 MIN.

With

Nick Cialfi - Claudio Santamaria Francesca - Vittoria Puccini Gianca Zanichelli - Paolo Briguglia Ludovico Zanichelli - Johnny Dorelli Marcello - Augusto Fornari Dedo Maramotti - Alessio Modica William Maramotti - Enrico Salimbeni
With: Selvaggia Quattrini, Manuela Morabito, Eliana Miglio, Chiara Tortorella.
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading