Handsomely produced, stylistically pretentious and ultimately tiresome, “Nina” is named for a pixie-ish twentysomething who spends the summer dogsitting in her friend’s swanky apartment and resisting the mild advances of a handsome young gent. Though it begins promisingly with the camera trailing Nina in longshot as she motors her Vespa through an implausibly depopulated suburban Rome, co-writer/director Elisa Fuksas’ pic runs out of gas well before the end of its brief running time. Someone should’ve told the filmmaker that a beautiful lead (Diane Fieri) and endless images of Roman architecture don’t make a movie.Would-be charming film has its heroine giving singing lessons on the side and visiting periodically with her aged professor (Ernesto Mahieux), whose advice on how to write Chinese characters includes the suggestion that Nina learn to “caress” the paper. More somnambulist than surrealist, the pic appears to take place in a fantasy world, albeit one whose appeal rarely extends to the audience. As Nina’s suitor Fabrizio, Luca Marinelli looks like a model and acts in no way as to advance the narrative. Michele D’Attanasio’s cinematography is lovely to little end.
A Magda Film, Paco Cinematografica production, in collaboration with Rai Cinema. Produced by Silvia Patrizia Innocenzi, Giovanni Saulini. Directed by Elisa Fuksas. Screenplay, Fuksas, Valia Santella.
Camera (color, widescreen), Michele D'Attanasio; editors, Eleonora Cao, Natalie Cristiani; music, Andrea Mariano; production designer, Carmine Guarino; costume designer, Grazia Colombini. Reviewed at Tokyo Film Festival (competing), Oct. 24, 2012. Running time: 78 MIN.
Diane Fieri, Luca Marinelli, Andrea Bosca, Ernesto Mahieux, Luigi Catani.