fbpx

GENOVA

Director: MICHAEL WINTERBOTTOM

U.K. • 2008 • COLOUR • ANAMORPHIC • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 35MM • 94 MIN


IT’S A TRUISM OF MICHAEL WINTERBOTTOM’S CAREER THAT YOU NEVER QUITE KNOW WHERE HE’S GOING NEXT, AND AFTER THE GEO-POLITICAL DRAMAS OF THE ROAD TO GUANTANAMO AND A MIGHTY HEART, HE’S TURNED TO THIS PRECISELY FOCUSED, INTIMATE VIGNETTE OF BEREAVEMENT AND REGENERATION.
After a car crash leaves academic Colin Firth a widower, he moves his two girls — a precocious 16-year old, and the more fragile sibling six years her junior — to sunny Genova for a year where he has a new university post. The Italian city is also home to an old college friend (the ever-wonderful Catherine Keener) who helps them settle in but may also have thoughts of rekindling an old college crush on Firth. Meanwhile, his younger daughter (Perla Haney-Jardine) seems to be the only one outwardly traumatised by the family’s tragedy, since her sister (Willa Holland) has discovered the delights of Italian boys, scooters and the beach, while dad can hardly take the moral high ground since he’s gradually warming to the advances of one of his female students.
Winterbottom lets his camera wander down the claustrophobic back alleys of this intriguingly photogenic old town, bringing a sense of adventure mixed with foreboding that’s a keynote for the whole film. Rather than exploit the situation for full-on melodrama, it’s a story of simmering tensions, as everyone finds themselves caught between the duties of mourning, the immediate pang of loss, and the opportunities for self-reinvention presented by their tantalising new milieu. The two young actresses are utterly believable, and Firth is a revelation in his most persuasive performance in years. — Trevor Johnston.

Book Tickets

}