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The Shadow of the Giant

Obscurely symbolic and dramatically inert, Roberto Petrocchi's "The Shadow of the Giant" is a tepid period piece that meshes elements of folk tales and Gothic romances, with indifferent results. Homevid beckons.

Obscurely symbolic and dramatically inert, Roberto Petrocchi’s “The Shadow of the Giant” is a tepid period piece that meshes elements of folk tales and Gothic romances, with indifferent results. Homevid beckons.

Based on a story by Paola Capriolo, pic is set in the late 1800s at a remote, centuries-old army fortress. Accompanied by Adele (Margherita Buy), his beautiful wife, and Ottaviano (Nicolo Rapisarda), their young son, Capt. Eugenio (Arnaud Arbessier) arrives to take command of the small unit charged with guarding a nameless prisoner. No one knows much about the long-incarcerated inmate, who remains sealed in a tower room with a heavily draped window. But when the melancholy Adele begins to pass time by playing classical melodies on her piano, she’s inexplicably accompanied by violin music from the prisoner’s cell. Petrocchi apparently wants to say something meaningful about the various ways people imprison themselves, and how they transcend their loneliness. But his leisurely paced narrative never catches fire as compelling drama. Fine performances and attractive color lensing fail to relieve the tedium.

The Shadow of the Giant

(ITALY)

Production: A Cinema e Societa production, in association with Consiglio dei Ministri/Dipartimento dello Spettacolo and ALBA Produzioni (International sales: Adriana Chiesa Enterprises, Rome.) Produced by Manolo Bolognini. Directed by Roberto Petrocchi. Screenplay, Petrocchi, Riccardo De Luca, based on the story "The Giant" by Paola Capriolo. Camera (color), Camillo Bazzoni; editor, Paolo Benassi; music, Andrea Morricone; production designer, Andrea Bolognini; costume designer, Maria Luisa Di Giovanni. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Panorama), Feb. 14, 2000. (Original title: L'Ombra del gigante.) Running time: 97 MIN.

With: With: Margherita Buy, Arnaud Arbessier, Marisa Solinas, Nicolo Rapisarda, Fausto Biefeni Olevano, Anna Testa.

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