Fellini's "I Vitelloni" meets "Peyton Place" in "Texas," the much-heralded film debut of theater actor-writer Fausto Paravidino. A large cast of youthful performers, including the director and scriptwriters, at first seem awkwardly lifted from the stage, but begin to emerge as believable characters by and by.

Fellini’s “I Vitelloni” meets “Peyton Place” in “Texas,” the much-heralded film debut of theater actor-writer Fausto Paravidino. A large cast of youthful performers, including the director and scriptwriters, at first seem awkwardly lifted from the stage, but begin to emerge as believable characters by and by. Their outbursts of anger and truth-telling shamefully light up the boring Italian provinces which, to the 29-year-old filmmaker’s mind, are much like rural Texas. While this self-conscious simile is unlikely to resonate far outside the local arena, crafty onshore release strategies could entice the domestic youth market, with scattered fest outings to follow.

The setting is a small town in northern Italy where everybody knows each other. A slew of party-happy twentysomethings waste their time hanging out and drinking. Scandal breaks out when good-looking loafer Gianluca (Ricardo Scamarcio) starts two-timing g.f. Cinzia (Iris Fusetti) with married schoolteacher Maria (Valeria Golino.) Theirs is the most focused of the group’s stories, thanks to Golino’s warm perf in a difficult, negative role. Film starts out being sarcastically narrated by Enrico (Paravidino), a minor character whose p.o.v. is eventually dropped. Given its head, the drama unfolds much more naturally and engrossingly in film’s last half-hour.

Texas

Italy

Production

A Medusa release of a Fandango production in association with Medusa Film, Sky. (International sales: The Works, London.) Produced by Domenico Procacci. Directed by Fausto Paravidino. Screenplay by Paravidino, Iris Fusetti, Carlo Orlando.

Crew

Camera (color), Gherardo Gossi; editor, Giogio Franchini; music, Nicola Tescari; production designer, Laura Benzi; costume designer, Alessandra Cardini. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Horizons), Sept. 6, 2005. Running time: 103 MIN.

With

Valeria Golino, Fausto Paravidino, Riccardo Scamarcio, Valerio Binasco, Iris Fusetti, Carlo Orlando, Alessia Bellotto, Teco Celio.
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