An Almost Ordinary Summer

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THIS YEAR I’ve reviewed half a dozen of the ten or so films that I saw in June at the Provincetown International Film Festival—not officially an LGBT film festival, but hey, it’s P’town, so a fair number G&LR-worthy films were on hand. Here’s the final review:

 

An Almost Ordinary Summer
Directed by Simone Godano

Start with a wildly improbable premise, throw in a huge cast of characters, let them all be Italians, and you’re in for a madcap romp that must set a record for number of words spoken in a 100-minute film. The premise is the impending marriage of two older Italian men, each the head of a large household of wives and mistresses, children and grandchildren, who announce to their respective families that they’ve fallen in love and plan to tie the knot in three weeks. Actually, only one of the men goes through with the announcement, namely Tony, who delivers the news to his family on the terrace of his sprawling seaside villa. His husband-to-be, Carlo, a fisherman by trade, can’t get up the nerve to tell his working-class wife and kids, who’ve been invited to spend the summer in Tony’s cottage on the estate.

Alessandro Gassmann as Carlo and Fabrizio Bentivoglio as Tony.
In the end this film is less about gayness than about social class. Indeed the marriage announcement telescopes a host of differences that separate the two clans. While Tony’s worldly family goes from shocked to jaded in about five minutes, Carlo’s people remain shocked and try to sabotage the impending wedding, led by his twenty-something son Sandro (a “blond Apollo”). One of Tony’s daughters joins in the sabotage and puts the make on Sandro; Tony’s ex-wife shows up, ranting about her children’s inheritance; Carlo discovers that Tony has been more of a slut than he’d realized. It’s all very Fellini-esque, confusing even, as the subtitles can scarcely keep up with the rapid-fire dialog. Every new disturbance seems to throw the wedding into greater jeopardy, which gives the movie its unifying question: can this marriage plan be saved?
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