Low-budget lark "The Eternal City" echoes classic '80s Amerindie quirks despite plentiful local color.

Shot in color but processed in crisp B&W — thus recalling the glory days of Italian art cinema — low-budget lark “The Eternal City” echoes classic ’80s Amerindie quirks despite plentiful local color. Tale of a love-besotted Philly lad intruding on a young Roman couple ingratiates even if character depth and story heft might best be called breezy. Not since Jim Jarmusch’s early heyday have pics this willfully slender rustled much theatrical interest. But it should win fest-circuit friends while raising its principals’ profiles. Modest DVD and Euro tube placements are possible.

Luggage lost and sleep-deprived, Johnny (Joe Iacovino) shows up in Rome to court a girl he’d fallen for in Paris. Neighbors Angela (Giulia Steigerwalt), an aspiring classical pianist, and her live-in Yank b.f. Jesse (Jason Goodman, who wrote and directed with Arianna De Giorgi), take him in, at first reluctantly, then with a warmth that borders on menage-a-trois. Ebullient, hotheaded Johnny shoehorns his way into Jesse’s filmmaking dreams, drawing in the couple’s older piano-tuning friend (Pablo Gasparri). Loose production sports plenty of raffish comic charm, with lensing and soundtrack choices sharp on slim means.

The Eternal City

Production

An Eternal City Films production. Produced by Daniela Remiddi, Laura Remiddi, Gabriela De Giorgi. Executive producer, Vincenzo Ianni. Directed, written by Arianna De Giorgi, Jason Goodman.

Crew

Camera (B&W, Super 16-to-HD), Francesco Di Giacomo; editors, Arianna De Giorgi, Goodman, Giampiero Gramigna; music, Goodman; production designer, Pablo Gasparri. Reviewed at Cinequest Film Festival (competing), San Jose, March 1, 2008. English, Italian dialogue. Running time: 86 MIN.

With

Joe Iacovino, Giulia Steigerwalt, Jason Goodman, Pablo Gasparri, Miriam Candurro.
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