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Sympathy for the Lobster

Satirist and political gadfly Sabina Guzzanti mixes fact with fiction in "Sympathy for the Lobster," her mockumentary follow-up to fest fave "Viva Zapatero!"

With:
With: Sabina Guzzanti, Pierfrancesco Loche, Francesca Reggiani, Cinzia Leone, Stefano Masciarelli, Antonello Fassari, Gianni Usai, Franza di Rosa, Pierfrancesco Banchi, Anita Lamanna, Maurizio Rizzuto, Riccardo Giagni.

Satirist and political gadfly Sabina Guzzanti mixes fact with fiction in “Sympathy for the Lobster,” her mockumentary follow-up to fest fave “Viva Zapatero!” Only at the end does she reveal the new gimmick: The benefit performance she and her collaborators are rehearsing is all make-believe. It’s certainly convincing, and often very funny, but the revelation falls flat and can’t be fully explained away by collateral discussions of the nature of reality. With most of the comic references extremely Italo-centric, current offering should do moderate biz at home but won’t be on offshore menus.

In the early ’90s, Guzzanti was a part of the “Saturday Night Live”-esque cult show “Avanzi,” whose pointed satire was revolutionary for Italian TV. Once Berlusconi came to power, that type of program became impossible to air, and the show’s regulars scattered. Pic’s premise has Guzzanti reuniting the cast for a benefit helping depressed fishermen in Sardinia, though commitment to the cause never quite convinces. Fast-moving format seamlessly blends improv with a basic script, during which old skits are rehearsed, group cohesion falters and Guzzanti expresses uneasiness with being the current voice of political truth.

Sympathy for the Lobster

Italy

Production: A Secol Superbo, Sciocco Produzioni production, in collaboration with AmbraFandango, Istituto Luce. (International sales: Fandango Portobello Sales, Rome.) Produced by Sabina Guzzanti, Valerio Terenzio, Simona Banchi. Directed by Sabina Guzzanti. Screenplay, Guzzanti, with the collaboration of Luca Bindirali.

Crew: Camera (color), Caroline Champetier; editor, Clelio Benevento; music, Riccardo Giagni, Maurizio Rizzuto; production designer/costume designer, Antonio Marcasciano. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Venice Days), Sept. 4, 2007. Original title: Le ragioni dell'aragosta. Running time: 95 MIN.

With: With: Sabina Guzzanti, Pierfrancesco Loche, Francesca Reggiani, Cinzia Leone, Stefano Masciarelli, Antonello Fassari, Gianni Usai, Franza di Rosa, Pierfrancesco Banchi, Anita Lamanna, Maurizio Rizzuto, Riccardo Giagni.

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