Hilarious souped-up docu "Pinuccio Lovero: A Midsummer Death’s Dream" plays like a well-crafted mockumentary, from the archly posed attitudes of its hero, Lovero, to its ironic jump-cut technique.

Hilarious souped-up docu “Pinuccio Lovero: A Midsummer Death’s Dream” plays like a well-crafted mockumentary, from the archly posed attitudes of its hero, Lovero, to its ironic jump-cut technique. Yet nothing is fabricated in this tale of a man who realizes his lifelong dream of becoming a funeral attendant in a neighboring burg, only to have nobody die. Purists may cavil at fiction helmer Pippo Mezzapesa’s unorthodox, undignified methodology, but the resultant portrait of Lovero and the southern Italian region that birthed him, wholly justifies it. Sixty-two minute running-time nixes theatrical distribution but may assure pic a slot on entertainment-skewed cable.

A curse to the florists, coffin-makers and gravediggers of Mariotto, Pinuccio is a gift to its old people, who attribute their longevity to his appointment to their cemetery. Jack of all trades, always ready to lend a hand as carpenter, musician, stonecutter or chauffeur, Pinuccio also is a beloved pillar of his nearby hometown, as villagers warmly attest. The sly complicity of every stray passerby and interviewee, combined with inbred Italian theatricality, render pic’s obvious dramatic manipulations a shared community joke, adding a local legend to the complex mythology of death.

Pinuccio Lovero: A Midsummer Death's Dream

Italy

Production

A Vivo Film/Mako Show & Tourism/Fanfara Film production with the support of the Apulia Film Commission and the Commune of Bitonto. (International sales: Vivo Films, Rome.) Produced by Gregorio Paonessa, Paky Fanelli, Pippo Mezzapesa. Directed by Pippo Mezzapesa. Written by Mezzapensa, Antonella Gaeta.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Michele D’Attanasio; editor, Andrea Maguolo; music, Cesare Dell’Anna, Umberto Smerilli. Original title: Pinuccio Lovero: Sogno di una morte de mezza estate. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Critic’s Week), Sept. 5, 2008. Running time: 62 MIN.

With

Pinuccio Lovero.

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