If being different from the usual Italo product were enough, tyro helmer Ago Panini’s “Waiting for the Sun” would deserve high praise. Instead, this low-budget ensembler set in a dingy hotel reps an interesting but unsatisfying debut for the musicvid/commercials director, who wears his American indie influences too ostentatiously to claim title to genuine originality. Still, the pic’s off-kilter humor and solid perfs, with name thesps playing against type, offer some rewards. Heavy word of mouth will be needed to keep this small release onscreen; offshore Italo fests could extend its shelf life.
It’s 1982, and Santino (Giuseppe Cederna) is the night clerk at a shabby hotel off a nondescript highway. A couple of toughs (Claudio Santamaria, Michele Venitucci) have fun at his expense, exchanging Tarantino-like dialogue while the uptight Santino obsesses over termites. Storylines weave in and out of the guest rooms, from a porn shoot (featuring Vanessa Incontrada) to a distraught husband (Raul Bova) phoning his wife. Latter segment’s seriousness doesn’t fit well with the general quirkiness, occasionally supplemented with inserted found footage and culminating in a “Magnolia”-type climax. Visuals emphasize wee-hours cheerlessness.