Piuma: L’Altra Italia’s January screening, in partnership with ICFF

2018 has arrived, and the ICFF in partnership with L’Altra Italia have a plethora of fabulous Italian films to keep you warm during this Canadian winter to our festival season. As it’s been a couple of weeks, we’re excited to be back and screening the insightful lighthearted comedy Piuma by Roan Johnson, the talented Anglo-Italian director best know for titles such as I primi della lista and Fino a qui tutto bene.

In this film, the director deals with issues that are all but featherweight (Piuma) in nature. That Johnson demonstrates the ability to exaggerate at the right time, to arouse the reaction of the viewer and then hit a second time, thus rendering many of the scenes amusing and downright funny, making the film all the more significant to the current world we live in.

There is, as we all know, a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humour and hurt. Piuma encompasses these elements, particularly for this teen generation – that of pregnancy. The two 19 year-olds Cate (Blu Yoshimi) and Ferro (Luigi Fedele) find themselves expecting a baby, when their paths were suppose to be that of starting University, traveling with friends and indulging in superficial late teen frivolities. They decide to keep the baby, and Johnson uses ethical issues of current relevance to tell his story of these two students.

The film, while meandering in a sometimes disjointed way along the nine months of pregnancy, is not so much a story about how the two young protagonists face pregnancy and the serious choices they have to make, but also about the adult world around them. The families of these teens seem even more unprepared and immature than the children in managing the situation at hand. Things are turned upside down in this film and we come to find out that these late teens, despite the predicament they find themselves in, demonstrate a sound and balanced maturity in taking responsibility for themselves.  

No better scene demonstrates this than the imagined swim scene high above the city. The two young protagonists Cate and Ferro, grappling with the unexpected changes of their situation react in different ways; Cate is serious and somewhat lost, while Ferro the big hearted clown is pragmatic but also the optimist when he suggests they swim back home when no bus arrives. The scene is obviously emblematic and evokes this “lightness of being” young despite the greater reality, but also the willingness to go forward and somehow find a solution.  

Through all the clichés of this comedy, the bitter jokes and even the most idiotic ones, Piuma speaks of us, of today, of fathers and sons, of unexpected but accepted responsibility. Johnson’s casting is perfect; Michela Cescon, Sergio Pierattini and Francesco Colella, albeit somewhat cartoonish, provide the satirical comedy while the two young protagonists, Luigi Fedele and Blu Yoshimi provide exactly what is needed to lend weight to this comedy. Piuma brings a portrait to the screen which is without judgement; it is cynical and romantic at the same time, and finally shows us adolescence with the right attitude. A film with strength, and light as a feather. Not to be missed.


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