Bad Tales

This is an uncomfortable film. Set in a suburb of Rome, it documents a sizzling hot summer of pool parties and neighbourhood get-togethers seen through the eyes of an unreliable witness whose identity is a mystery. The problem is it goes nowhere:  the Swiss Italian writer/director  d’Innocenzo brothers, who won the Silver Bear best screenplay award at Berlin and were responsible for the gripping Dogman, string together a series of far-from-innocent scenes in suburbia.

While the parents outwardly compete with each other’s material possessions and over the intelligence of their children, behind closed doors the men are sex-obsessed and prone to violence. Meanwhile the kids, superficially sweet and innocent, watch and copy their so-called role models in sexual experimentation, and cross the boundaries of right and wrong.  As the parents tussle with each other,  the kids, largely ignored, are embarking on a school project that will affect them all.

Several critics rate this highly but, to coin a phrase, it is very much style over substance. In a film where there are no likeable only amoral characters, with sympathy only extending to the skinny misfit Geremia (above, Justin Korovkin), the substance is simply too unpalatable.

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