×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Rome Film Review: ‘Maria per Roma’

This fictionalized semi-autobiography about a slightly kooky aspiring actress feels like a vanity project completely oblivious to its protagonist’s entitlement.

With:
Karen Di Porto, Andrea Planamente, Cyro Rossi, Diego Buongiorno, Nicola Mancini, Lorenzo Adorni, Massimiliano Padovan Di Benedetto, Paolo Samoggia, Boris Giulivi, Paola Venturi, Bruno Pavoncello, Mia Benedetta Barracchia, Marianna Costantini, Daniela Virgilio.

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6075948/reference

Advance word touting “Maria per Roma” as this year’s Italo indie sleeper amounted to mere piffle, since Karen Di Porto’s fictionalized semi-autobiography is a weak vanity project marred by uninspired direction and an embarrassing recourse to national stereotypes in a bid for cheap laughs. Designed as a day-in-the-life tale of a slightly kooky aspiring actress working for an agency renting apartments to tourists, the film seems to want audiences to feel a mixture of empathy and affection for the lead, played, of course, by Di Porto, but notwithstanding the obligatory Cinderella moment, it’s hard to feel much for a script so oblivious to its protagonist’s entitlement. “Maria” may get local distribution but won’t be seen on non-Italian shores.

“Maria” is presumably meant to appeal to upper-middle-class Italians who’ve fallen on slightly harder times yet retain the trappings of their former income bracket: a good education, multilingual fluency, and of course a decent wardrobe. That’s Maria’s profile, and although her mother (Paola Venturi) is in debt and Maria herself occasionally rents her apartment with balcony out to tourists for extra cash, she’s able to indulge in retail therapy when necessary. It’s doubtful many of her struggling actor friends can similarly access disposable income, yet Maria (like the script) seems unaware of such distinctions. Or is it deprivations?

The film’s title comes from a Roman dialect expression, “Cerca’ Maria pe’ Roma”, used to reflect on the difficulty of finding something: the idea behind the saying is that with so many women in Rome named Maria, it’s practically impossible to find the one you’re looking for. Di Porto’s Maria is looking for an acting gig, but there’s not much time for perfecting her craft, since she’s mostly racing about the city greeting arriving tourists and showing them the apartments they’ve rented. That gives the director-writer a chance to show Arab women as bitchy whiners, Israelis as overweight schlubs, turbaned Brahmins who won’t lift their own luggage…. It’s all played for laughs, but such limp attempts at humor don’t sit well with the film’s supposed aura of hip cosmopolitanism.

As a performer, Di Porto has a pleasant screen presence, though populating her film with a mix of professionals and amateurs, all largely taken from her intimate circle, certainly helps to show off her training. The direction is less successful, featuring feeble scene set-ups and cinematography with no discernible style.

Rome Film Review: 'Maria per Roma'

Reviewed at Rome Film Festival (Official selection), October 19, 2016. Running time: 92 MIN.  

Production: (Italy) A Bella Film production, in association with Sea Eagle Italia 5. Produced by Galliano Juso.

Crew: Directed, written by Karen Di Porto. Camera (color), Maura Morales. Editor, Mirko Garrone.

With: Karen Di Porto, Andrea Planamente, Cyro Rossi, Diego Buongiorno, Nicola Mancini, Lorenzo Adorni, Massimiliano Padovan Di Benedetto, Paolo Samoggia, Boris Giulivi, Paola Venturi, Bruno Pavoncello, Mia Benedetta Barracchia, Marianna Costantini, Daniela Virgilio.

More Film

  • Three Identical Strangers

    Film News Roundup: 'Three Identical Strangers' Feature Adaptation Taps 'Bohemian Rhapsody' Writer

    In today’s film news roundup, “Three Identical Strangers” is moving ahead, Skeet Ulrich has been cast with Tom Hanks, the “Minions” sequel has been titled and “Vegas Dave” is getting a movie. MCCARTEN ATTACHED “Bohemian Rhapsody” screenwriter Anthony McCarten will write and produce the feature adaptation of the documentary “Three Identical Strangers.” Raw, Film4 and [...]

  • Bong Joon-ho, Choi Woo-shik. Director Bong

    Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' Earns Five-Minute Cannes Ovation

    Just days after the announcement of the selection of “Parasite” for main competition at the Cannes Film Festival, South Korean director Bong Joon-ho warned members of the local press not to expect his film to win the Palme d’Or. He also suggested that the film was “hyper local” and possibly difficult for foreign audiences to [...]

  • 'Parasite' Review: A Brilliant, Bleak Bong

    Cannes Film Review: 'Parasite'

    A laugh turns into a snarl which gets stuck in the throat like a sob — or an arrow through the neck — in Bong Joon-ho’s latest wild, wild ride, “Parasite.” On paper, that might not sound so very different from the experience of watching Bong’s “Snowpiercer,” “Memories of Murder” “The Host” or “Okja.” The [...]

  • 'Maradona' Director Asif Kapadia Talks About

    'Diego Maradona' Director Asif Kapadia Talks About His Cannes Doc

    Global sports icon and lauded soccer player Diego Maradona’s dramatic life intrigued Oscar and BAFTA winner director Asif Kapadia (“Amy,” “Senna”) while he was still in film school. “It had an incredibly strong backstory and extremes of good and dark,” he recalls. Fast-forward to more than 20 years later as his feature documentary, “Diego Maradona” [...]

  • the long walk

    Stephen King's 'The Long Walk' Film Taps 'Scary Stories to Tell' Director

    New Line has tapped André Øvredal to direct the feature adaptation of Stephen King’s dystopian thriller “The Long Walk.” Øvredal’s credits include mystery thriller “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” and the upcoming horror film “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” co-written and produced by Guillermo del Toro and releasing on Aug. 9. James Vanderbilt [...]

  • Central Partnership Inks Multiple Deals on

    Cannes: Central Partnership Inks Multiple Deals on 'Billion' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Russia’s Central Partnership has closed several territory sales on Roman Prygunov’s comedy crime thriller “Billion.” Central Partnership has sold the movie to China (Jetsen Huashi Media), Turkey (ATV), France and French-speaking territories (Trade Media), Bulgaria (A Plus Film) and Baltics (GPI). The film centers on banker Matvey Levin, who goes to great lengths to avoid [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content