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B.B. and the Cormorant

"B.B. and the Cormorant" at least has the appeal of its youthful, pessimistic but authentic-feeling outlook.Tuscan comic and fledgling helmer Edoardo Gabbriellini contrasts the lack of satisfying jobs available to twentysomethings with "successful" adults engaged in TV marketeering and semi-legal business ventures.

A film without a great deal to say or much narrative gas, “B.B. and the Cormorant” at least has the appeal of its youthful, pessimistic but authentic-feeling outlook. Using a light touch, young Tuscan comic and fledgling helmer Edoardo Gabbriellini contrasts the lack of satisfying jobs available to Italian twentysomethings with “successful” adults engaged in TV marketeering and semi-legal business ventures. If only the scriptwriters had thought of a story to carry their vision beyond well-intentioned festival auds, this quirky piece might have more than a marginal chance at the box office.

Like characters in search of a story, Mario (Gabbriellini), his cool uncle (Marco Giallini), pretty dishwasher Gaia (Carolina Felline) and others gravitate around a rambling beach resort that’s never quite been finished. Squatters, shown as the helpless victims of city mismanagement, have settled in, to the displeasure of the barking businessman (Paolo Vivaldi) who claims to own the place. Hiring Mario as a plumber, and a shapely career woman (Selen) as his manager, he starts bringing in foreign tourists, whom the film lazily caricatures.

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The off-season Tuscan coastline is gorgeous, but no one is happy in their dead-end jobs. Mario dreams of going to New York and being an underground musician (in grainy video cutaways to Manhattan streets). With the curly-haired looks of a young Bob Dylan, Gabbriellini is attractive but bloodless in the main role, making it hard to care about his ultimate fate. Liveliest thesp is Felline as the unpredictable Gaia and, with nothing else to catch viewers’ attention, their barely happening relationship ends up at the center of the film. Giallini is suave and in control as uncle Piero, whose fabled life in America turns out to be just a tall tale.

Dancing around blues and grays, Frederic Fasano’s camerawork has a nice, clean feel when it’s not engaged in complicated, unmotivated camera movements that look like the symptoms of first film disease. Musicians Simone Soldani and Valerio Fantozzi concoct a very listenable rock score which is discreetly used.

B.B. and the Cormorant

Italy

  • Production: A Medusa Film release (in Italy) of a Fandango production. (International sales: Intra Movies, Rome.) Produced by Domenico Procacci. Directed by Edoardo Gabbriellini. Screenplay, Federico Bacci, Gabbriellini, Lorenzo Tripodi.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Frederic Fasano; editor, Valentina Girodo; music, Simone Soldani, Valerio Fantozzi; production designer, Sonia Peng; costume designer, Bettina Pontiggia; sound (Dolby digital), Maricetta Lombardo. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Critics' Week), May 23, 2003. Running time: 89 MIN.
  • With: Mario - Edoardo Gabbriellini Gaia - Carolina Felline Gabriella - Selen Piero - Marco Giallini <b>With:</b> Giorgio Algrante, Paolo Vivaldi.
  • Music By: