A sexy and intelligent drama, Laura Muscardin's Italo feature debut "Days" chronicles a turbulent period when one HIV-positive man's hitherto well-ordered life suddenly jumps rails on several fronts.

Claudio - Thomas Trabacchi Andrea - Riccardo Salerno Dario - Davide Bechini Alessandro - Riccardo de Filippis Laura - Monica Rametta Giovanna - Paola Gassman Irene - Bruna Rossi Doctor - Daniela Cerri

A sexy and intelligent drama, Laura Muscardin’s Italo feature debut “Days” chronicles a turbulent period when one HIV-positive man’s hitherto well-ordered life suddenly jumps rails on several fronts. Roughly similar to Cyvil Collard’s 1993 Gallic sensation “Savage Nights” in theme and not particularly sympathetic protag — though with a cool, concise tenor utterly opposed to that pic’s hysteria — “Days'” attractive thesps and the addressing of current AIDS treatment issues make sales to offshore arthouse distribbers a strong prospect.

A button-down Roman bank executive in his mid-30s who’s always kept his emotions tightly wrapped, handsome Claudio (Thomas Trabacchi) is the very definition of grown-up, rather humorless responsibility. Maintaining good health via both workout and medication regimes — both strictly scheduled — he is about to make a long-planned move to Milan with lover of several years Andrea (Riccardo Salerno).

But something about that looming deadline has Claudio edgy. An atypical instance of anonymous sex in a public park lingers in his mind until he runs across the same hot younger man, Dario (Davide Bechini), as a waiter at a restaurant. Faking excuse to abandon a country weekend with Andrea, Claudio seeks out Dario again, and they commence a passionate affair.

“He makes me feel invulnerable,” protag later confesses. Indeed, Claudio begins behaving with uncharacteristic recklessness, taking a “holiday” from his pill regime, sloughing off important job obligations, sending contrary signals to both boyfriend and new squeeze.

The latter two are both openhearted men who make no secret of their love for Claudio — and their pain at his indecision. Ambivalent to the end, ultimately cruel (if unintentionally so) to nearly everyone in his life, Claudio is not an especially likeable person.

Yet lead perf, Muscardin’s crisp direction and the terse script she’s co-written do nothing to judge or sensationalize Claudio’s behavior. He comes across as a man incapable of either embracing or fully defying his own control-freak instincts. Intriguingly, pic regards the whole progress in neutral terms, leaving aud to draw its own conclusions.

It’s a difficult balance that Muscardin achieves in deceptively simple terms, with no fuss whatsoever in the near-minimalist dialogue and clean cinematic presentation. There are sharp subplots afforded in interactions with several characters whose greater emotional extremis backlights Claudio’s clamshell demeanor.

The warmth projected by Salerno and Bechini renders protag’s remoteness all the more problematic, though Trabacchi does such a good job limning Claudio’s deep-rooted ambivalence that viewer remains on the fence throughout. Nonetheless, chemistry in and out of bed between Dario and Claudio is so convincingly achieved that one never has any doubt why latter would find himself blinkered.

All perfs here are fine-tuned. Near-complete absence of musical underscoring furthers pic’s air of observational directness. Design aspects underscore yuppie sleekness of hero’s milieu. Tech contributions are polished.



Production: A Movie Factory production in association with Tele+. Produced by Francesco Montini. Directed by Laura Muscardin. Screenplay by Francesco Montini, David Osorio, Monica Rametta, Muscardin.

Crew: Camera (color), Sabrina Varani; editor, Alberto Moretti; music, Ivan Iusco; production designer, Giuliano Pannuti; costume designer, Alberto Moretti; sound, Gianluca Costamagna. Reviewed at San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, June 22, 2002. Running time: 90 MIN.

With: Claudio - Thomas Trabacchi Andrea - Riccardo Salerno Dario - Davide Bechini Alessandro - Riccardo de Filippis Laura - Monica Rametta Giovanna - Paola Gassman Irene - Bruna Rossi Doctor - Daniela Cerri

More Film

  • Amy Adams (left) as Lynne Cheney

    Film News Roundup: Makeup Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Sets Awards Show for Jan. 11

    In today’s film news roundup, the 2020 awards season schedule gets finalized; AFM will cover immersive content; “Murderous Trance” and “7 Days to Vegas” get acquired; and Kate Katzman has been added to “The Comeback Trail.” AWARDS DATE The Makeup Artists & Hair Stylists Guild has set Jan. 11 as the date for its seventh [...]

  • Disney Pandora World Of Avatar, Lake

    The Piano Guys Play 'Avatar' Theme in Disney World (Watch)

    The YouTube sensation The Piano Guys have taken a trip to the world of Pandora for a performance of the theme to “Avatar.” Shot in the bioluminescent floating forest in Disney World, cellist Steven Sharp Nelson and pianist Jon Schmidt put their spin on the score to James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster. The video immerses the [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Billy Drago, 'Untouchables' Star, Dies at 73

    Billy Drago, who often played harming but chilling gangster roles and appeared in Brian De Palma’s “The Untouchables” and Clint Eastwood’s “Pale Rider,” died Monday in Los Angeles of complications from a stroke. He was 73. The character actor played Al Capone’s henchman Frank Nitti in 1987’s “The Untouchables.” On TV series “Charmed,” he put [...]

  • Grant Sputore

    'I Am Mother' Director Tackles Margot Robbie-Produced Thriller 'Augmented'

    Warner Bros. has hired “I Am Mother” director Grant Sputore to helm the science-fiction thriller “Augmented” which Margot Robbie is producing, Variety has learned exclusively. Michael Lloyd Green is rewriting an original script by Mark Townend. Denise Di Novi and Tom Ackerley are also producing. Production companies are Robbie’s LuckyChap and Di Novi’s eponymous Di [...]

  • Miley Cyrus

    Miley Cyrus Teases 'Charlie's Angels' Collaboration with Ariana Grande and Lana Del Rey

    Three of the biggest female pop stars have joined forces in a new song for the Elizabeth Banks-directed reboot of “Charlie’s Angels.” In a tweet posted Wednesday, Miley Cyrus hinted at a collaboration between herself, Lana Del Rey, and Ariana Grande in the forthcoming film. Alongside a 14-second teaser, originally posted by Sony Pictures, the [...]

  • AMC TheatresShop signs, Los Angeles, America

    AMC Subscription Program Hits 860k Members

    AMC’s subscription service, launched in 2018 as a challenger to MoviePass, has reached 860,129 members in its first 12 months. Given the unwieldy moniker of AMC Stubs A-List, the service costs between $19.95 to $23.95 per month depending on where users live. The company initially said it had hoped to sign up 500,000 members in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content