The English guide is oddly uninformative about the minor films showing at the Rome film festival so my knowledge of 2night was based on a half-understood synopsis from an Italian website. The film, directed by Ivan Silvestrini appeared to be about a couple’s lengthy search for a parking space in Rome – an unexplored yet timely subject that most urban drivers can relate to. (I was once with a friend in Milan who had to park so far from his flat that the next time we needed the car he couldn’t remember where he’d left it. Parking is a major problem in Italian cities). On hearing the synopsis of 2night another friend suggested that the film would be an excellent metaphor for life, the constant search ending in a realisation that the search was actually the thing that mattered most. I went into the screening full of beans, excited that this was the sleeper of the festival, the film that would be heralded as the greatest hit of the season.
It wasn’t so. 2night does involve a long search for a parcheggio in the outskirts of Rome but it has no deeper motive than displaying the frustrated sexual mores of a couple of Romans trying to park up for a one-night stand. Online research to find out more details about the filmmakers also suggests that it is a very close remake of an Israeli film. Which makes this version highly unnecessary.
Shot in the natural Roman night the screen is washed with the yellow streetlights and green neons of the city’s bedtime. Silvestrini avoids the tourist sights of Rome that could have been thrown in to particularise the visuals, instead this could be any city, any country, any night. Two thirty-something’s played by Matilde Gioli and Matteo Martari meet in a bar. The girl is given a wacky up-for-it character (she thinks that Rome is crappy – ’nuff said), the man is more withdrawn. If he wasn’t such a rule-abider they would have parked in the first available space and there woudn’t have been a film. But that space was for residents only. The next was for disabled only. They drive around talking about sexual fantasies, the girl instigating trouble with people they meet, the man trying to back out, both keeping an eye out for somewhere to park.
We are in classic indie film territory. A small cast – two people for most of the film, mostly a single set – the compact Ford car. Of action and plot there is little, instead we have the interminable interpersonal discussions in which indie films delight. And yet there is an understandable reason why filmmakers want to discuss these things. They are the universal ways that we spend our time. We don’t actually discuss Proust and Godard very often, and when we do we don’t know what we’re talking about. Thirty-something conversation is more likely to involve parties and porn than anything deeper. But does every indie film have to reflect this?
2Night is self-contained and gives a snapshot of urban life circa now-ish. It won’t be the classic breakout hit I had hoped but it makes a relevant diary entry for the future to learn about 21st century life.
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