A Time to Love

Only thesp who'll be putting this three-part Europudding on her resume is Natalia Piatti, 14, whose playing in the Italian section briefly injects real tenderness into the phoney-baloney collection of love stories. Theatrical business looks negligible for this third feature by Giacomo Campiotti ("Spring Race," "Like Two Crocodiles").

Only thesp who’ll be putting this three-part Europudding on her resume is Natalia Piatti, 14, whose playing in the Italian section briefly injects real tenderness into the phoney-baloney collection of love stories. Theatrical business looks negligible for this third feature by Giacomo Campiotti (“Spring Race,” “Like Two Crocodiles”).

English-lingo seg, set in turn-of-the-century colonial Africa (and shot in Morocco), establishes the off-kilter tone with sumptuous widescreen visuals and balladic music that recalls Sergio Leone pics, as volunteer nurse Martha (Juliet Aubrey, in another unwise career decision) falls for Peter (Ciaran Hinds, OK), military orderly to her twittish brother (Tam Williams), who’s intent on scuppering the cross-tracks love affair. Dialogue, which sounds like it was translated from Italian, doesn’t improve in the French seg, set in WWII Paris, where flautist Claire (Natacha Regnier, so good in “Dreamlife of Angels”) shacks up with Russian violinist Gabriel (Ignazio Oliva) for some amour fou set to Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet.” Simplest and best is the modern-day Turin section, with young teen Naty (Piatti) lovingly tending a hospitalized boy (Giuseppe Faraso) who’s in a coma, telling him stories he can’t hear. Tech credits are fine.

A Time to Love

(ROMANTIC DRAMA -- ITALIAN-BRITISH-FRENCH)

Production: A 3 Emme Cinematografica (Italy)/Hungry Eye Lowlands (U.K.)/Noe Films (France) production, in association with RAI, and with participation of British Screen, BSkyB, Istituto Luce, Blu Film and Canal Plus. (International sales: the Sales Co., London.) Produced by Leo Pescarolo, Massimo Ferraro. Co-producers, Judy Counihan, Cedomir Kolar, Marc Borhet, Frederique Dumas. Directed by Giacomo Campiotti. Screenplay, Campiotti, Alexander Adabachian. Camera (Autenticolor prints, widescreen), Blasco Giurato, Marcello Montarsi; editor, Roberto Missiroli; music, Beppe D'Onghia; production designer, Paola Bizzari; costume designers, Annie Symons (African section), Catherine Gome (French), Consolata Boyle (Italian). Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (competing), Aug. 8, 1999. (Also in Toronto Film Festival --- Contemporary World Cinema.) Original Italian title: Il tempo dell'amore. (English, French and Italian dialogue.) Running time: 112 MIN.

With: With: Ciaran Hinds, Ignazio Oliva, Juliet Aubrey, Natacha Regnier, Natalia Piatti, Giuseppe Faraso, Tam Williams, Caroline Carver, Sandrine Dumas, Lino Capolicchio.

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