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Last Kiss, The

Director: Gabriele Muccino

Italy| 2001. Subtitles. Colour. Anamorphic. Dolby digital stereo. 115 mins.


Writer-director Gabriele Muccino had a major hit with this ensemble comedy-drama, which has something of the feel of such ’50s and ’60s Italian classics as Pietro Germi’s Divorce, Italian Style and Mario Monicelli’s Big Deal on Madonna Street. In fact, the themes are as vintage as commedia dell’arte: infidelity, self-delusion, domestic conflicts and, most of all, the age-old desire for one last fling. The title refers to the last reckless liaison of 30-year-old Carlo (Stefano Accorsi), whose discovery that his girlfriend Giulia (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) is pregnant leads him into a clandestine affair with a ravishing teenager (Martina Stella). But the title also alludes to the last desperate grabs at ‘freedom’ of Carlo’s male friends as well as that of Giulia’s mother, Anna (Stefania Sandrelli), who reacts to the prospect of becoming a grandmother by leaving her husband for an old flame. Muccino views his large cast of characters with a winning combination of humour and sympathy. He isn’t blind to the essential selfishness of the Italian middle-class, and his film is a little darker than it first appears. The unflagging energy of the direction and the enormously appealing cast are all part of a rather clever comic strategy, as revealed in the film’s playful coda.

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