Beguiling goof "The Orange Thief" is a sort of traditional Sicilian musical heavily indebted in style and flavor to the trademark deadpan of Jim Jarmusch. It will please some but strike others as a genial one-joke concept waaaaaaay overstretched at feature length.

Beguiling goof “The Orange Thief” is a sort of traditional Sicilian musical heavily indebted in style and flavor to the trademark deadpan of Jim Jarmusch. A big fave for Mill Valley and Woodstock fest auds, it will please some but strike others as a genial one-joke concept waaaaaaay overstretched at feature length. Nonetheless, its slender charms are sufficient to court further fest travel and possible specialized home-format release.

Made “exquisite corpse” style — inexperienced writer-director-editors shot independent of each other, proceeding only after each approved the last one’s work — pic’s fablelike storyline is nonetheless simple to a fault. Titular parentless foundling (Andrea Calabrese) grows up having to steal to exist, and yearning for land he can call his own. During a jail stint, he meets murderer Turrido (Allessio Giottoli), who demands the soon-to-be-released thief record his erstwhile fiancee Rosalba’s (Micaela Helvetica Saxer) song stylings. She proves resistant. Sicilian folksongs performed are arresting and funny; minimalist visual aesthetic is handsome. But nonpro perfs are stonily one-dimensional, slight story is poky and repetitive. Pic trusts its focus on close-mouthed, stereotyped Sicilian machismo (even among the female characters) to be endlessly hilarious.

The Orange Thief

U.S.- Italy

Production

A Black Boot Beach and Senza Pane production. Produced, directed, edited by Boogie Dean, Vinnie Angel, Arturo Wilinski. Screenplay, Dean, Angel.

Crew

Camera (color, HD-to-Beta SP), Dean, Angel, Wilinski, Jim Reed; music, Taylor Cutcomb; production designer, Wilinski. Reviewed at Mill Valley Film Festival, Oct. 10, 2006. Italian, Sicilian dialogue. Running time: 82 MIN.

With

Andrea Calabrese, Allessio Giottoli, Micaela Helvetica Saxer, Jean Mrac Burger, Cesare Riatti, Maria Cecilia Genovese, Innocenzo Di Lisi.
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