Fellini’s “I Vitelloni” meets “Peyton Place” in “Texas,” the much-heralded film debut of theater actor-writer Fausto Paravidino. A large cast of youthful performers, including the director and scriptwriters, at first seem awkwardly lifted from the stage, but begin to emerge as believable characters by and by. Their outbursts of anger and truth-telling shamefully light up the boring Italian provinces which, to the 29-year-old filmmaker’s mind, are much like rural Texas. While this self-conscious simile is unlikely to resonate far outside the local arena, crafty onshore release strategies could entice the domestic youth market, with scattered fest outings to follow.
The setting is a small town in northern Italy where everybody knows each other. A slew of party-happy twentysomethings waste their time hanging out and drinking. Scandal breaks out when good-looking loafer Gianluca (Ricardo Scamarcio) starts two-timing g.f. Cinzia (Iris Fusetti) with married schoolteacher Maria (Valeria Golino.) Theirs is the most focused of the group’s stories, thanks to Golino’s warm perf in a difficult, negative role. Film starts out being sarcastically narrated by Enrico (Paravidino), a minor character whose p.o.v. is eventually dropped. Given its head, the drama unfolds much more naturally and engrossingly in film’s last half-hour.