×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘Piuma’

A lack of maturity won’t stop pregnant 18-year-old and her true-blue boyfriend from keeping their baby in this tiresome, cartoonish comedy.

With:
Luigi Fedele, Blu Yoshimi, Michela Cescon, Sergio Pierattini, Francesco Colella, Francesca Antonelli, Bruno Sgueglia, Francesca Turrini, Brando Pacitto, Clara Alonso.
Release Date:
Oct 20, 2016

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5247192/

Most plumage floats weightlessly in the air, but “Piuma” (Italian for “feather”) sinks to the ground without ever lifting off. That’s because Anglo-Italian Roan Johnson’s third feature is a grab-bag of naïve teens and unmodulated hot-headed adults who wear out their welcome early, engaging in cartoonish situations that are merely exaggerated, tiresome facsimiles of reality. The two protagonists — a pregnant 18-year-old and her true-blue boyfriend — have a breezy charm, but they’re surrounded by ridiculous caricatures. Unfortunately, “Piuma” is the sort of film that reinforces negative perceptions of Italian mainstream cinema, especially given its competition slot in Venice. At the press screening, several Italian shouts of “shame!” were overheard above some tepid applause.

Loquacious, impulsive Ferro (Luigi Fedele) and more level-headed Cate (Blu Yoshimi) have difficulty telling their parents that she’s in the early stages of pregnancy and they want to keep the baby. They’re still in high school, have little means of support and only vague notions that being parents to an infant means you lose some sleep for a while and don’t get to go out much. They can’t expect help from her dad Alfredo (Francesco Colella), a lying wastrel with a waspish girlfriend (Francesca Antonelli) — in fact, how on earth did Cate turn out relatively balanced given her upbringing? Ferro’s mom Carla (Michela Cescon) is sympathetic, but dad Franco (Sergio Pierattini) only criticizes his son’s bad decisions.

For the ensuing months, each signaled on screen, Franco will scream at his wife and son, Alfredo will act like a doofus, and the young couple will experience a few — but only a few — of the inconveniences of pregnancy. For added laughs there’s Carla’s stiff-jointed father Lino (Bruno Sgueglia), and kooky physiotherapist Stella (Francesca Turrini), whose technique for total relaxation can be imagined.

The film’s timing is ironic given Italy’s widely ridiculed fertility-incentive campaign unveiled last week, to which “Piuma” could be considered an adjunct, given how both are oblivious to the real world. Making matters worse, there’s a gay dig (the constantly exasperated Franco wishes his son were gay instead of being “normal”) as well as stereotyped jibes at Morocco and Romanians. Sure this sort of stuff will play decently to the masses at home, but why put it in a festival where it’s bound to be harshly dismissed?

Fedele demonstrates a winning screen presence, and Yoshimi holds her own, though her character is blandly formed (perhaps a necessity given that someone has to feel real around here). Visuals are predictably sunny, with a few “arty” shots of the couple swimming in a pool whose bottom looks like an aerial shot of one of Rome’s least interesting neighborhoods. Somewhere in all this there’s a message about allowing oneself to be free to choose one’s own path in life, but tell that to most teen parents and their response might be a bit different.

Popular on Variety

Film Review: 'Piuma'

Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (competing), Sept. 5, 2016. Running time: 98 MIN.

Production: (Italy) A Lucky Red release of a Palomar, Sky Cinema production. (International sales: True Colours, Rome.) Producers: Carlo degli Esposti, Nicola Serra, Marco Camilli, Luigi Pinto. Executive producers: Patrizia Massa, Nils Hartmann, Roberto Amoroso, Sonia Rovai.

Crew: Director: Roan Johnson. Screenplay: Ottavia Mededdu, Carlotta Massimi, Davide Lantieri, Roan Johnson. Camera (color, widescreen): Davide Manca. Editors, Paolo Landolfi, Davide Vizzini.

With: Luigi Fedele, Blu Yoshimi, Michela Cescon, Sergio Pierattini, Francesco Colella, Francesca Antonelli, Bruno Sgueglia, Francesca Turrini, Brando Pacitto, Clara Alonso.

More Film

  • In ‘Motherless Brooklyn,’ Edward Norton Takes

    In ‘Motherless Brooklyn,’ Edward Norton Takes on Timeless Power Struggles

    In Edward Norton’s “Motherless Brooklyn,” the ‘50s-set New York noir detective story he produced, directed, wrote and stars in, politics are never far from the surface. But they’re not the obvious parallels to any racist autocrats from New York of modern times, but instead focus on more timeless politics – the way disabled people and [...]

  • 'Joker' Cinematographer Lawrence Sher Wins at

    'Joker' Cinematographer Lawrence Sher Wins at EnergaCamerimage Film Festival

    “Joker” cinematographer Lawrence Sher’s bid, along with director Todd Phillips, to try something “perhaps even a bit artful” won big Saturday in Torun, Poland as he took the top prize at the EnergaCamerimage Intl. Film Festival. The Golden Frog for cinematography, along with the audience prize, went to his work filming Joaquin Phoenix in the [...]

  • Roberto Schaefer

    Netflix Image Enhancement Rules Take Cinematographers by Surprise

    A Netflix requirement that cinematographers capture films in HDR, or high dynamic range, has taken many by surprise, filmmakers say, but those at the 27th EnergaCamerimage festival in Poland seem increasingly accepting of the change. DP Roberto Schaefer, whose “Red Sea Diving Resort” screened at the cinematography fest in the historic city of Torun, said [...]

  • Lech Majewski and Josh Hartnett

    Lech Majewski on ‘Valley of the Gods,’ Navajo Mythology, Josh Hartnett, Keir Dullea

    TORUN, Poland – In his latest work, “The Valley of the Gods,” director Lech Majewski explores the ancient mythology of a downtrodden people and the absurd wealth of the world’s richest man in a surreal vision of modern America. The film screened at the EnergaCamerimage Intl. Film Festival as part of special showcase honoring Majewski, [...]

  • The Red Sea Diving Resort

    Cinematographer Roberto Schaefer on Gideon Raff's Thriller ‘The Red Sea Diving Resort’

    TORUN, Poland – While Gideon Raff’s Netflix thriller “The Red Sea Diving Resort” shot largely in South Africa and Namibia, the project was a welcomed opportunity for cinematographer Roberto Schaefer due to his own memorable travels through Ethiopia. The film, which screened in the EnergaCamerimage Intl. Film Festival’s Contemporary World Cinema section, is loosely based [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content