The Red & the Blue
Il rosso e il blu
A beautifully observed, deftly directed film comprising a series of interlinked stories set in a modern High School in Rome.
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One the most underrated and distinctive filmmakers in contemporary Italian cinema, Giuseppe Piccioni (Light of My Eyes; Not of this World), whose work has regularly been showcased in the LFF, returns with this smart, stylish drama. Set in a modern-day high school in the centre of Rome, The Red & the Blue weaves a rich tapestry of stories together. A troubled teenage romance; the tragi-comic despair of an elderly teacher; the headmistress turned reluctant good Samaritan and an idealistic teacher trying to salvage the academic career of a truant are all fashioned into rich rewarding journeys with bittersweet, believable and sometimes uncertain conclusions. Touching and shot through with clever, believable observation and wry humour, The Red & the Blue confirms Piccioni as a singular filmmaker, who deserves more regular attention.
School, at its best, is supposed to teach, or at least contain any dangerous tendencies, steering the path of destiny for many, helping them to discover their vocation and interests. This redeeming mission would seem to be headed for failure. Trodden into the ground by a shapeless yet varied set of influences, media myths, subcultures and street ambushes. I did not choose the sociological approach, no extreme suburbs, no ‘no-man’s-land’, nothing that can be easily pigeon-holed. The Red and the Blue tries to present a crumbling world that has a hard time finding its meaning. But it tries to do so at times with a light-hearted touch. I have not tried to tell stories collected from newspaper cuttings, but the ordinary daily life of a fairly ‘normal’ school, trying to shoot without ever paying much attention to the camera. I’ve preferred to hide behind the characters, behind the stories without relinquishing the opportunity here and there to infringe this intent, and let certain moments stand out of their own accord. The school is there, with all its failings and problems, but the focus is on the people, the adults and teenagers, each in their own way faced with a choice. Growing up or dropping out, sticking with the team, or losing touch, losing oneself out of generosity or naiveté or simply trundling on.
Born in 1953 in Ascoli Piceno, he graduated in sociology before attending la Scuola di Cinematografia della Gaumont from 1980-83. He made his feature debut two years later with Il grande Blek, which won the De Sica award for young Italian cinema. Aside from his subsequent award-laden features (of which Light of My Eyes figured at the LFF in 2001 and Giulia Doesn’t Date at Night in 2009), he has made two interview-based documentary portraits of actresses Sandra Ceccarelli and Margherita Buy for the Venice Film Festival.
1987 Il grande Blek
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