RoFF17: Physical education, review of the choral drama with Claudio Santamaria, Angela Finocchiaro, Sergio Rubini and Giovanna Mezzogiorno

Physical education – Claudio Santamaria, Raffaella Rea, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Sergio Rubini and Angela Finocchiaro (photo by Gianfilippo De Rossi)


There review from Physical education from Stefano Cipanithe choral drama written by the brothers D’Innocenzo and performed by Claudio Santamaria, Angela Finocchiaro, Raffaella Rea, Sergio Rubini And Giovanna Mezzogiorno, presented in the section Grand Public of the Rome Film Festival

One place, the run-down gym of a middle school, four parents looking for answers on a horrendous crime committed by their children and the principal of the institute who summoned them. Taken from theatrical piece by Giorgio Scianna, written by the brothers D’Innocenzo (The land of abundance, Favolacce).directed by Stefano Cipani and performed by Claudio Santamaria, Angela Finocchiaro, Raffaella Rea, Sergio Rubini And Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Physical education has landed at the 17th Rome Film Festival.

Model children

Franco (Claudio Santamaria) is the father of Cristian, a boy who attends the eighth grade, is married but cheats on his wife with Carmen (Raffaella Rea) Giordano’s mother. Aldo (Sergio Rubini) and Rossella (Angela Finocchiaro) instead adopted Arsen from Africa many years earlier; he is in charge of the reception of the emergency room of a hospital, she is a common housewife. One afternoon they are summoned by the principal (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) of the school that the boys attend, which informs them of a very serious fact: their children have repeatedly raped one of their classmates. Once the disbelief and shock of the revelation are overcome, the parents begin to fight against the principal to defend their offspring to the end. However, a series of increasingly dramatic events will force them to make decisions that were previously unthinkable, in a desperate attempt to protect themselves as well as their “babies”.

Physical education - Angela Finocchiaro, Raffaella Rea - Claudio Santamaria and Sergio Rubini (photo by Gianfilippo De Rossi)
Physical education – Angela Finocchiaro, Raffaella Rea – Claudio Santamaria and Sergio Rubini (photo by Gianfilippo De Rossi)

Monsters walk among us and there are too many

This is a monster movie Physical education. Upper middle-class monsters with big car, lover and vote strictly on the left even if they are on the right. But also proletarian monsters who adopt African children to save them from horror, only to save them again when they become horror themselves. If the children are guilty of an atrocious crime, however without even showing a shred of repentance as they continue to play undeterred, fathers and mothers refuse to see, to accept. Because evil, in their daily life, it is outside their homes and it never passed from there. Even in the face of the evidence of evidence these monsters will not give up, but this time not to deny the truth but to subvert it, modify it, make it bearable. An all too desolate and bleak picture, what it is Physical education would like to represent. Because such monsters do not even exist in horror films, let alone in reality.

Manicheismo a lot ar kilo

The characters of Physical education they are pigeonholed into two distinct factions: good and evil, light and dark. On the one hand the headmaster who wants to get to the truth and protect the victim at all costs, on the other hand the executioner parents who want to obliterate that truth and protect the executioners produced (or not) of their own blood. There is no room for nuance, for gray, for a character who can be soiled by blackmail or cleansed of guilt. Everything is all too clear, the demons are on one side and the angels on the other, as in a sort of Armageddon whose stakes are our own humanity. And that’s how it slowly Physical education it sinks into absolute Manichaeism, which is not only uninteresting but even irritating. The writing of the D’Innocenzo brothers continues to tell us about a dirty, mephitic and toxic world, where there is no redemption, no hope and no sense of guilt. As they say, too much is good.

Physical education - Claudio Santamaria (photo by Gianfilippo De Rossi)
Physical education – Claudio Santamaria (photo by Gianfilippo De Rossi)

An asphyxiating place

The idea of ​​setting the narration in a single closed, narrow and in this case also public space like a school gym is certainly borrowed from the desire / need to leave no escape for one’s protagonists. Certainly no one prevents them from leaving, but leaving would mean giving up the power game that has been created there, leaving would mean surrendering to the possibility of justice. Too bad that even in this case the dynamics that are created between the characters are excessively constructed and untrue, starting from the action of the principal to summon the parents of the children Before of the police. Such a narrative short circuit obviously breaks the suspension of disbelief almost immediately, with the result that we find it hard to believe in the events that follow one another with a rather frenzied pace. The film then becomes as suffocating as the gymnasium in which it is set, but not in a positive sense. There is too much darkness, too much desire to be bad at all costs and, above all, it is lacking paradoxically the courage to be completely in the final.

Parents’ faults always fall …

The prerequisites for Physical education could tell us something really interesting about the meaning of children’s education and being parents there were all: a cast of high-ranking actors (who unfortunately remain stuck in their characters without offering shades or colors of any other kind), the presence of the scholastic institution as an arena of history (certainly not a random element) and an ethical dilemma and moral with a thousand possibilities. Too bad that the dialogues, the scenic rendering and intentions are superficial and arbitrary and that there is never an emotional pay-off to repay for so much suffering and so much rot. A film about guilt without the sense of guilt, a film about guilty without guilt.

Physical education - Giovanna Mezzogiorno (photo by Gianfilippo De Rossi)
Physical education – Giovanna Mezzogiorno (photo by Gianfilippo De Rossi)

Physical education. Directed by Stefano Cipani with Angela Finocchiaro, Sergio Rubini, Claudio Santamaria, Raffaella Rea and Giovanna Mezzogiorno, soon to be released in theaters distributed by 01 Distribution.

VOTE:

Two stars

RoFF17: Physical education, review of the choral drama with Claudio Santamaria, Angela Finocchiaro, Sergio Rubini and Giovanna Mezzogiorno