Italian actor Franco Nero takes his first turn behind the camera directing “Forever Blues,” a trite tale of bonding between an aging jazz trumpeter and a cute little boy who has been traumatized by domestic violence. Pic looks like an under-produced TV project; its chief attraction is the charismatic, blue-eyed Nero in the starring role, which may be enough for scattered TV sales and some children’s venues. Pic’s bland poetry didn’t click on its onshore release. The international version has been dubbed into flat American English, irritatingly in contrast with the film’s picturesque setting in Calabria.
The thesis is that friendship and music can heal the deep wounds afflicting mop-headed Marco (Daniel Piamonti), who has witnessed his violent father beating his brave, loving mother (Paola Saluzzi). When loner and misanthrope Luca (Nero) is forced to take care of Marco — a long day of fun that translates into a great deal too much screentime — the tyke comes out of his shell and blooms. Cast is uneven, with the engaging Nero and Saluzzi leading a weak clutch of supporting players. Locations around the wilds of Aspromonte give a visual boost.