Formally handsome yet psychologically inert storytelling.

A sportswriter’s rapid deterioration from Alzheimer’s offers Pupi Avati his umpteenth opportunity to indulge in formally handsome yet psychologically inert storytelling. “Endless Youth,” his second film of 2010, is further proof that the prolific helmer thinks in personal concepts rather than dramaturgical nitty-gritty, and the pic, offering possible insight solely into Avati’s own preoccupations, showcases airless atmosphere over believable characterization. Reception has been muted at home, diminishing chances for extraterritorial sales.

Sports journo Lino (Fabrizio Bentivoglio) and university professor Francesca (Francesca Neri, superficially styled as an older woman) live in the kind of fabulous apartment only movie intellectuals supported by a busy art department could afford. Following his diagnosis, Lino declines in record time and Francesca leaves him under nurses’ supervision when he goes through an aggressive stage. On her return, she settles into the role of maternal caregiver, consciously turning him into the child they never had. This unlikely source of psychological comfort feels plain weird, but Avati reps it as a natural stage in the couple’s loving relationship. Flashbacks to Lino’s childhood, lensed in grays and browns, provide background and melancholy without adding depth.

Endless Youth

Italy

Production

A 01 Distribution release of a Rai Cinema presentation of a DueA Film production in collaboration with Rai Cinema, Mediocreval. (International sales: Rai Trade, Rome.) Produced by Antonio Avati. Directed, written by Pupi Avati.

Crew

Camera (color), Pasquale Rachini; editor, Amedeo Salfa; music, Riz Ortolani; production designer, Giuliano Pannuti; costume designers, Maria Fassari, Stefania Consaga. Reviewed at Eden Film Center, Rome, Oct. 13, 2010. Running time: 95 MIN.

With

Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Francesca Neri, Serena Grandi, Gianni Cavina, Lino Capolicchio, Manuela Morabito, Erica Blanc, Osvaldo Ruggieri, Vincenzo Crocitti, Brian Fenzi, Marcello Caroli, Riccardo Lucchese, Lucia Gruppioni.
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