×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

La Terra

"La terra" is the most energetic and appealing of helmer-actor Sergio Rubini's eight movies to date. Fabrizio Bentivoglio heads a bold ensemble cast as an exiled son who returns to his native Puglia and finds himself thrust into the role of <I>capo famiglia</I>.

With:
With: Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Paolo Briguglia, Massimo Venturiello, Emilio Solfrizzi, Claudia Gerini, Giovanna Di Rauso, Sergio Rubini, Marisa Eugeni, Alisa Bistrova, Daniela Mazzacane, Maurizio Rega.

A compulsively watchable combo of lop-sided Italian comedy and Southern film noir, “La terra” is the most energetic and appealing of helmer-actor Sergio Rubini’s eight movies to date. Fabrizio Bentivoglio heads a bold ensemble cast as an exiled son who returns to his native Puglia and finds himself thrust into the role of capo famiglia. Pic did fair business on its opening weekend Feb. 24, bolstered by critical paeans and word-of-mouth. Stunning location work and a story playing off familiar Italian stereotypes could well catch the fancy of offshore auds.

Though the mafia is not involved here, the clever screenplay by Rubini and his co-writers has a lot of other things to say about the violence that ails the South. Luigi Di Santo (Bentivoglio) has lived in Milan since, as a teenager, he accidentally killed his father during a family feud. As the curtain rises, he steps off a train in the deserted, sun-bleached town where he grew up. He intends to spend only a few days to sign some papers so he and his three brothers can sell the farmland they inherited.

But the town immediately draws him into its intrigues. His wacky businessman brother, Michele (Emilio Solfrizzi), is fixated on running for political office, though he’s up to his ears in debt to local money-lender Tonino (Rubini). The violent, sinister Tonino is also linked to Luigi’s hot-headed half-brother, Aldo (Massimo Venturiello), who’s in love with Tonino’s Romanian mistress, Tania (Alisa Bistrova).

When Tonino is shot during an eerie night-time religious procession, both brothers fall under suspicion. Even Luigi has his doubts.

The youngest brother, Mario (Paolo Briguglia), is a clean-cut volunteer in a school for the handicapped. It takes Luigi some time to realize that the sexy Angela (Giovanna Di Rauso) is Mario’s ex. This part of the film feels a bit slapped together and unfocused. The script’s other major weakness is the solution to the whodunit: It works, but only by the skin of the dead man’s teeth.

If “La terra” isn’t the hottest mystery around, it knows how to twist its suspense elements into offbeat comedy. Luigi, the outsider from Milan, is the lens of normality through which auds view the grotesque events of the South.

Bentivoglio hits his marks as the level-headed modern Italian. Rubini couldn’t be a more repulsive contrast as the slimy Tonino.

As a director, Rubini, who started in 1990 with the notable “The Station,” takes a giant leap forward compared with undistinguished recent efforts like “Love Returns.” Despite lapses of control and much exaggeration, he puts his finger on the crass foolishness of contemporary Italy.

Fabio Cianchetti’s exhilarating lensing echoes classic spaghetti Westerns in the burnt landscapes of Nardo, Lecce, Mesagne and Brindisi. The recurring pizzicato in Pino Donaggio’s humorously over-the-top score recalls Leone’s favorite composer, Ennio Morricone, doing Elio Petri’s political thrillers.

La Terra

Italy

Production: A Medusa release of a Fandango production, in association with Medusa Film/Sky. (International sales: The Works, London.) Produced by Domenico Procacci. Directed by Sergio Rubini. Screenplay, Angelo Pasquini, Carla Cavaluzzi, Rubini.

Crew: Camera (color), Fabio Cianchetti; editor, Giogio Franchini; music, Pino Donaggio; production designer, Luca Gobbi; costume designers, Patrizia Chericoni, Florence Emir; sound (Dolby Digital), Tullio Morganti. Reviewed at Embassy, Rome, Feb. 26, 2006. Running time: 112 MIN.

With: With: Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Paolo Briguglia, Massimo Venturiello, Emilio Solfrizzi, Claudia Gerini, Giovanna Di Rauso, Sergio Rubini, Marisa Eugeni, Alisa Bistrova, Daniela Mazzacane, Maurizio Rega.

More Film

  • Emma Thompson

    Emma Thompson Exits Skydance Animation Movie 'Luck' Over John Lasseter Hire

    Emma Thompson has dropped out of the voice cast of Skydance Animation’s upcoming film “Luck,” a spokesperson for the actress told Variety. The beloved British star did some recording for the project, but dropped out in January, following John Lasseter’s hire to the top animation job at David Ellison’s studio, an insider close to the [...]

  • Daniel Kaluuya Lakeith Stanfield

    Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield in Talks to Star in Film About Black Panther Party Leader

    Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield are in negotiations to star in the historical drama “Jesus Was My Homeboy” about Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton. The project is set up at Warner Bros. with “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler producing along with Charles King through his Marco production company. Executive producers are Sev Ohanian, Zinzi [...]

  • Watch First Trailer for Motley Crue

    Watch First Trailer for Motley Crue Biopic 'The Dirt'

    Netflix has dropped the first trailer for its Motley Crue biopic “The Dirt” — based on Neil Strauss’ best-selling history of the legendarily bad-behaved ‘80s metal icons — and it looks like the film pulls no punches in terms of the band’s famously sordid history. In this two-minute trailer, we get glimpses of singer Vince [...]

  • ‘Tomorrow and Thereafter,’ ‘Diane Has the

    MyFrenchFilmFestival Prizes ‘Tomorrow and Thereafter,’ ‘Diane Has the Right Shape’

    Actress-director Noémie Lvovsky’s “Tomorrow And Thereafter,” a heartfelt homage to the director’s own mother, and Fabien Gorgeart’s “Diane Has the Right Shape,” about one woman’s surrogate motherhood, both won big at the 2019 UniFrance MyFrenchFilmFestival which skewed female in its winners and viewership, making particularly notable inroads into South East Asia and Latin America. Opening [...]

  • Vue International Chief Slams BAFTA For

    Vue International Chief Slams BAFTA for Awarding Prizes to 'Roma'

    Tim Richards, the founder and chief executive of Vue International, one of the largest cinema chains in Europe, has slammed the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for awarding prizes to Netflix’s “Roma.” Alfonso Cuaron’s black-and-white film, which is also up for several Oscars, won four BAFTAs at the awards ceremony in London on [...]

  • Oscars Ultimate Party Guide

    Oscar's Ultimate Party Guide 2019

    Welcome to Oscar week. It’s the time of year when Hollywood’s film industry celebrates all things movies. But it’s certainly not just the big show everyone is looking forward to. With voting closed, it’s all about the parties now. Who’s doing what and where and when are they doing it are the questions everyone is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content