Reminiscent of an overextended “Twilight Zone” episode but still good for a laugh, Italian low-budgeter “The Arrival of Wang” works through an amusing sci-fi premise. Written and helmed by brothers Antonio and Marco Manetti (“Zora la vampira”), story revolves around a pro Italian translator called in for a highly unusual assignment that tests her principles and sense of trust. Pic should turn a modest profit locally but won’t arrive in much style offshore, though it could garner a minor cult following in ancillary.Rome resident Gaia (Francesca Cuttica) is summoned by government agent Curti (Ennio Fantastichini) to translate Mandarin into Italian at a location so secret she’s blindfolded en route. Once there, she’s not even allowed to see Wang (voiced by Li Yong), the person she’s interpreting for, which makes the job doubly difficult. Turns out Wang’s actually an alien from another planet, who sensibly learned Mandarin after ascertaining it was the most widely spoken language on Earth. Disgusted at the rough treatment Curti and Co. dish out, Gaia tries to free Wang, but there’s another twist in store. Cheap but cheerful effects enhance pic’s pleasingly schlocky feel.
A Dania Film release of a Dania Film, Pepito Produzioni, Surf Film presentation in collaboration with Rai Cinema of a Manetti Bros. Film production. (International sales: Rai Trade, Rome.) Produced, directed, written by Antonio Manetti, Marco Manetti.
Camera (color, HD), Alessandro Chiodo; editor, Federico Maria Maneschi; music, Pivio De Scalzi, Aldo De Scalzi; art director, Noemi Marchica; costume designer, Patrizia Mazzon. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Controcampo Italiano), Sept. 4, 2011. Running time: 86 MIN.
Francesca Cuttica, Ennio Fantastichini, Li Yong, Juliet Esey Joseph, Antonello Morroni. (Italian, Mandarin dialogue)