But Forever in My Mind

Director: Gabriele Muccino


Before finding success in Hollywood with the recent Will Smith vehicle The Pursuit of Happyness, director Gabriele Muccino made a series of excellent films about Italian society as seen through the eyes of different generations. His first major work, the delightful But Forever in My Mind, is a superior coming-of-age comedy which Muccino scripted with help from his younger brother Silvio and Adele Tulli, who were both 16-year-old students at the time. Their input perhaps adds to the genuineness, immediacy and the affection evident in the film’s observation of school years, early sexual yearnings and romantic convictions about changing the world.
A large group of teenage activists are occupying their high school as part of a protest against privatised education and greater standardisation among students. Stirred by the excitement, Silvio (Silvio Muccino) finds himself drawn to fellow student Valentina (Giulia Carmignani) and impulsively kisses her. As news of his indiscretion spreads through the school, Silvio’s confused emotions run riot. Adding to the turmoil, his parents—themselves former 1960s radicals now comfortably absorbed into the complacent middle-class—begin pressuring him to communicate with them more, while his brother wants romantic advice and his sister reveals a big secret. Muccino whips all this emotional upheaval into an entertaining brew of tender comedy. Beginning with the riot squad’s arrival to break down the student barricades, the director deftly manipulates the tone to introduce a more melancholy undercurrent which serves to heighten the warmth and emotional impact of the lovely climactic stretch.

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