Our Land

Director: Sergio Rubini


A compulsively watchable combination of lopsided Italian comedy and Southern film noir, La terra is the most energetic and appealing of director-actor Sergio Rubini’s eight movies to date. Fabrizio Bentivoglio heads a bold cast as an exiled son who returns to his native Puglia and finds himself thrust into the role of capo famiglia.
Though the mafia is not involved here, the clever screenplay by Rubini and his co-writers has a lot of other things to say about the violence that ails the South. Luigi Di Santo (Bentivoglio) has lived in Milan since, as a teenager, he accidentally killed his father. As the curtain rises, he steps off a train in the deserted, sun-bleached town where he grew up. He intends to spend only a few days to sign some papers so he and his three brothers can sell the farmland they inherited. But the town immediately draws him into its intrigues. His wacky businessman brother Michele (Emilio Solfrizzi) is fixated on running for political office, though he’s up to his ears in debt to local money-lender Tonino (Rubini). The violent Tonino is also linked to Luigi’s hot-headed halfbrother Aldo (Massimo Venturiello), who’s in love with Tonino’s Romanian mistress Tania (Alisa Bystrova). When Tonino is shot during an eerie night-time religious procession, both brothers fall under suspicion.
As a director, Rubini, who started in 1990 with the notable The Station, takes a giant leap forward compared with undistinguished recent efforts and puts his finger on the crass foolishness of contemporary Italy.

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