January 31, 2023

L’Intrepido – Intrepid reporter overcomes setback to bring you a review from Venice Film Festival

L’Intrepido, directed by Gianni Amelio, was the first film of the day. It was also the one where I discovered that I had forgotten the larger of my two notepads. I could picture it sitting serenely on the desk back at base camp, just to the right of my laptop. Luckily this was a setback of minor proportions as I am currently in the happy position of travelling with two notebooks.

Let me disabuse you of the idea that the pad I turned to as the lights dimmed is in any way a reserve notebook. Quite the contrary – if there was a fire and I could save but one notepad before fleeing, this would be the one I grabbed. Where it would admit that it lets itself down is its size. Though stylish it is undeniably small. This is an issue as notes written in the dark are hard to read at the best of times. When scrawled on small pages they appear as though dictated to an illiterate six year old trying to write with their foot.

These were the circumstances that led to my notes for L’Intrepido reading as follows…

Margaret looks. Change job. Talk with bile. Follino? Miles with glamour. Creative John week. Music with them, correctly. But parallax is terminal. Italian oboe. Cleaning San Siro. Autumn. Hunting [something completely unreadable] Girth and Italia. Signpost.

Some might say that sounds just like the plot of an art house film, but I’m certain it wasn’t the plot of this art house film. I’m going to have to resort to old fashioned memory.

L’Intrepido starts off as a tale with potential. Italian comic Antonio Albanese plays Antonio Pane, a super-temp employed to step in for an hour or two whenever people need to miss work. Luckily he’s a quick learner as the jobs include tram driver and librarian. Anyone can phone his boss and book him, so he often finds himself doing unusual jobs. Whether he is selling roses to tourists, pasting up advertisements or visiting his sax playing son, he projects a real happiness, even though on the surface his life is not all it could be.

So far, so fun. A slightly daft premise, but there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s set in Milan, but not the Milano of high fashion and aperitivi. This is a less-seen version of the great Italian city, where fathers have to borrow money from their sons. In Italian and starring the middle aged Alabanese this is reminiscent of the recent comedies by Gianni di Gregorio. It starts as a whimsical comedy but darkens, around the time Pane is given a job that would need a CRB check in the UK. The consequences are not followed up and after that the light touch disappears.

The film manages two false endings, both of which fooled the hardened movie goers around me and had them getting ready to leave. Just when you think it’s over there’s a little bit more. Twice.

Verdict: An Italian curiosity.

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