Two local losers and a pair of East European call girls stumble through life in a cold, uncaring Italian city in “Take Me Away.” First feature by the promising Gianluca Maria Tavarelli has a sophisticated new-wave look and carefully drawn characters. Its market outside Italy can only be quite specialized, though fest outings should earn pic supporters.
The two parallel stories take place in Turin, given a grubby contemporary look by Pietro Sciortino’s harsh, unglamorous lensing. It’s a world of loneliness and violence, in which happiness is elusive. Alberto (Sergio Troiano) , a 30-year-old door-to-door appliance salesman, and his best friend Luigi (Michele Di Mauro), a social worker, spend their evenings bar- and disco-hopping , hunting for girls.
They hate their jobs, are perpetually broke, and fight a losing battle against loneliness and depression. Somehow the nuanced, sympathetic perfs by Di Mauro and Troiano make these dead-end lives interesting.
Bulgarian-born Cinzia (Stefania Orsola Garello) and Russian blonde Cristina (France Demoulin) are high-priced call girls who spend their nights servicing clients (off-screen) in hotel rooms.
They also hate their jobs, but are more desperate and rebellious than Alberto and Luigi, for whom they are unreachable objects of fantasy. The four characters finally hook up in pic’s dramatic finale, which is surprisingly upbeat.
Tavarelli describes boredom through repetition: The boys keep returning to the same dull discos, the girls keep knocking on hotel doors. This is a dangerous strategy, and film’s leisurely pace needs tightening. So does the dialogue.
The intense Orsola Garello and Demoulin offer a fresh view of the anxieties of the unhappy hooker in some memorable conversations, including a parable about salmon that merited spontaneous applause at pic’s Venice preem. Also of note are supporting thesps in poignant marginal roles, such as Alberto’s UFO-obsessed neighbor Mario (Riccardo Montanaro) and Luigi’s mentally unbalanced patient Paolo (Fabrizio Monetti).