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The First Time

Produced by Antonio Avati, Fiorenzo Senese.

Produced by Antonio Avati, Fiorenzo Senese.

Directed by Massimo Martella. Screenplay, Sergio Consani, Luca De Bei, Martella, Tommaso Avati. Camera (Cinecitta color), Pasquale Rachini; editor, Silvia Moraes; music, Giovanni Tommaso; art director, Lorenzo Baraldi; costume designers, Stephane Bertola, Magdalena Grassi. Reviewed at Shadowline Film Festival, Salerno, April 24, 1999. (Also in Cannes Film Festival — market.) Original title: La prima volta. Running time: 109 MIN.

With: Alessia Fugardi, Valentina Limongelli, Marco Vivio, Costantino Meloni, Fulvia Lorenzetti, Micaela Ramazotti, Max Malatesta, Giovanni Ghersi, Silvia Barone, Mauro Meconi, Pilar Abella, Federico Zonetti, Claudia Botticelli, Manuel Scorcia, Francesca Chiarantano.

Director Massimo Martella, whose well-received 1992 debut, “The Dive,” intelligently explored the troubled world of adolescence, flounders on similar turf with his second feature, “The First Time.” Six loosely connected stories based on interviews with teens about their initiation into love and sex lack the freshness and vitality of youth, and fail to unearth much poetry in their bleak Roman suburbs setting. Technically modest production cast mainly with non-pro actors may see some minor festival play, but commercial outlook is dim.

Opening stories are the most convincing, centering, respectively, on a bored boutique assistant who acquiesces to the advances of her sleazy boss and on a shy kid introduced to sex by his bullish older brother’s girl. Pic then becomes progressively less interesting. Approach, despite the subject, is meek and sexless, touching on drugs, class differences, marriage, parental problems and romantic disillusionment, but only occasionally mustering a ring of truth. Protagonists all are passengers in the same subway car, but beyond this, no attempt is made to interweave the stories.

The First Time

(DRAMA -- ITALIAN)

  • Production: A Medusa Film release (in Italy) of a Pupi and Antonio Avati/Fiorenzo Senese presentation of a DueA Film production, in association with Medusa Film. (International sales: Adriana Chiesa Enterprises, Rome.)
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