×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Soul’s Place

As a character in "The Soul's Place" notes, the problems of factory workers no longer make the national news. They also don't inspire Italian movies anymore, which is one reason why Riccardo Milani's third feature (a huge leap forward from his "War of the Antos") looks so fresh and bold. Milani won the this year's Premio Flaiano for his directing; with critical support the film could attract fests and specialized offshore release. Domestic B.O. on release in early May was sluggish.

With:
With: Michele Placido, Silvio Orlando, Claudio Santamaria, Paola Cortellesi, Imma Piro, Flavio Pistilli, Maria Laura Rondanini.

As a character in “The Soul’s Place” notes, the problems of factory workers no longer make the national news. They also don’t inspire Italian movies anymore, which is one reason why Riccardo Milani’s third feature (a huge leap forward from his “War of the Antos”) looks so fresh and bold. Milani won the this year’s Premio Flaiano for his directing; with critical support the film could attract fests and specialized offshore release. Domestic B.O. on release in early May was sluggish.

Tale about a factory that closes down, and how it affects the lives of three men and their families, springs to life through strong characters and a well-handled mix of realism and earthy humor. Setting is a pretty little southern town nestled in the forested Abruzzo mountains, not far from the sea. Its inhabitants are proud of two things: their local saint Gemma and the Carair tire factory, which gives the area its livelihood. When the American company that owns Carair decides to shut it down, putting 500 men out of work, the workers chain themselves to the gate and organize a round-the-clock protest.

Story is told through the eyes of dedicated union organizer Salvatore (Michele Placido), bearish Antonio (comic actor Silvio Orlando) and young hothead Mario (Claudio Santamaria). They leave no stone unturned in their struggle to keep the factory open, from opening a Web site to and selling homemade pasta in a bid to raise financing to getting arrested on television as well as sending a delegation to Brussels (and then to the U.S.) to meet with the Carair’s prez.

Personal relations are deftly interwoven into Milani and Domenico Starnone’s tightly paced script, showing the impact on the whole town of the factory’s closure. Antonio’s divided girlfriend, Nina (a fine Paola Cortellesi), who left the place long ago for an office job and comfortable apartment in Milan, shows how hard it is to simply walk away from the town and one’s roots.

Salvatore browbeats his teenage son, who is more interested in computers than assembly lines; and he and Mario both lord it over their wives, macho-style. But film also shows the women quietly rebelling by turning their pasta-making into a small business.

Thesps Orlando, Placido and Santamaria are given a lot of leash but mainly keep an edgy balance between seemingly constant conflict and solidarity. The cast is backed up by solid, unobtrusive tech work.

The Soul's Place

Italy

Production: An 01 RAI Cinema/Studio Canal Distribution release of an Albachiara/RAI Cinema production. Produced by Lionello Cerri. Directed by Riccardo Milani. Screenplay, Domenico Starnone, Milani.

Crew: Camera (color), Arnaldo Catinari; editor, Marco Spoletini; music, Leandro Piccioni; production designer, Paola Comencini; costume designer, Gianna Gissi; sound (Dolby Digital), Bruno Pupparo. Reviewed at Mignon Cinema, Rome, June 24, 2003. Running time: 105 MIN.

With: With: Michele Placido, Silvio Orlando, Claudio Santamaria, Paola Cortellesi, Imma Piro, Flavio Pistilli, Maria Laura Rondanini.

More Film

  • Most Memorable Oscar Speeches in Academy

    The Most Memorable Oscar Speeches in Academy History (Watch)

    No Academy Awards is complete without some emotional acceptance speeches on stage – and some political ones to boot. With just 90 seconds to make an impact, many actors have used the platform as a voice for political change, calling attention to hot-button issues like climate change and gender equality, while others have simply reveled [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Jussie Smollett Arrested, in Custody of Chicago Police

    Jussie Smollett has been arrested and faces criminal charges for allegedly filing a false police report and for disorderly conduct. Chicago police tweeted Thursday morning that the “Empire” actor was under arrest and in custody of detectives. Smollett claimed that he had been attacked by two men on Jan. 29 — he said they beat [...]

  • Billie Holiday (1915-1959, born Eleanora Fagan)

    Billie Holiday Documentary Draws Buyers as Concord Boards Project

    Concord, the successor to the Billie Holiday Estate, has boarded James Erskine’s documentary “Billie,” which tracks the iconic jazz singer’s life. Altitude Film Sales has sold the project to several territories. Also joining the project, now in post-production, is the Brazilian colorization artist Marina Amaral. Most of the filmed and still images that exist of [...]

  • My Extraordinary Summer With Tess review

    Film Review: 'My Extraordinary Summer With Tess'

    Winner of a special mention from the Berlinale Generation KPlus’ adult jury, the family-friendly, light drama “My Extraordinary Summer With Tess” is straightforward youth cinema with surprising emotional depth. Based on a prize-winning novel by Anna Woltz, a beloved Dutch writer of work for young readers, it explores family relationships and emphasizes the importance of [...]

  • UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report: Women, Minorities

    Hollywood Diversity Gains in TV but Falls Short in Movies

    Minorities and women have registered gains in several key areas of television but women continue to lag in movies, according to a report issued Thursday by the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA. “My basic take is that TV is improving more for minorities and women than film,” said Dr. Darnell [...]

  • Ghost Fleet review

    Film Review: 'Ghost Fleet'

    The revelatory documentary “Ghost Fleet” condemns the modern-day slave labor fueling the Thai fishing industry while focusing on the work of Bangkok-based advocacy organization Labor Rights Promotion Network Foundation (LPN), a group dedicated to ending slavery at sea. Combining chilling testimony from formerly enslaved men, some wincingly arty recreations of their ordeals, and on-the-ground footage [...]

  • WGA West Logo

    WGA Plans March 25 Member Vote on Talent Agency Rules

    Leaders of the Writers Guild of America plan a March 25 vote for members to decide whether to implement tough new restrictions on how Hollywood talent agencies as operate as agents for writer clients. The vote comes as the guild is in the midst of pitched negotiations with the Association of Talent Agents to renew [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content