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ONE MAN UP

Director: PAOLO SORRENTINO

ITALY • 2001 • SUBTITLED • COLOUR • DOLBY STEREO SR • 35MM • 100 MIN


Sorrentino’s excellent first feature as writer-director, One Man Up (L’Uomo in piu) already displays some of the thematic richness and story-juggling skills he was to develop to such dazzling effect in The Consequences of Love and Il Divo. Set in the filmmaker’s native Naples during the cynical 1980s, it’s a twin character study that tracks the parallel lives of two very different men named Tony as both become celebrated public figures before suffering personal and professional setbacks.
Antonio Pisapia (Toni Servillo), known as Tony, is a cocaine-addled lounge singer whose moment in the spotlight segues into disgrace when he’s caught in bed with an underage girl. The second Antonio (Andrea Renzi) is an ace footballer whose sudden injury leads to a frustrated quest to become a coach. These two quintessentially Italian public figures — based on musician Franco Califano and footballer Agostino Di Bartolomei — would appear to have little in common, except that bad luck catches up with both and fate brings them together in the first of Sorrentino’s mysterious, richly suggestive endings.
The filmmaker is fascinated by complex, contradictory figures whose lives he views with a quizzical yet sympathetic gaze. It is typical of Sorrentino that, despite the melancholy nature of the story, his film maintains a tone that is reflective without becoming maudlin. — Peter Walsh.

Plus Sorrentino’s short films Love Knows No Bounds (L’amore non ha confine) (1998, 16 min.) and The Long Night (La notte lunga) (2001, 15 min.).

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