Day: April 12, 2017

Volere Volare – Torch Song Trilogy – tape 1520

First on this tape, part of Channel 4’s Cinema Cinema! season, there’s Volere Volare (which my database insists is ‘Volare, Volere’ which wouldn’t actually make sense). The subtitle helpfully explains the title’s pun, translating it to ‘Wanting to Fly’.

This is an Italian film directed by and starring Maurizio Nichetti. Is it safe to trust a film starring and directed by an Italian after Roberto Beningi? We’ll see.

It’s already weird. Our main character is Martina (Angela Finocchiaro) who appears to cater for men with kinks. An old man pretends to be a baby, and she has to feed him bottled milk. Two twin architects sip coffee while watching her take a shower.

As we follow her working day, we also occasionally see Nichetti, who spends his time recording sounds, or looking for things that make interesting sounds, for dubbing over films.

I’m not sure this film is entirely realistic. He’s in the dubbing theatre projection room, and a group of actresses are brought in to do the dubbing for a sex film – and for some reason, they all have to take their clothes off in the dubbing theatre. I think this whole film is an excuse to see women undressed.

Martina and Nichetti keep bumping into each other, and they first properly meet in a taxi, driven by another of her clients, who likes to drive dangerously and have her react accordingly. This is actually quite funny, and an excuse to have some stunt driving.

Her clients start telling her they’d prefer it if Nichetti were with her when she’s working, so she arranges to meet him and offer him a job. He starts scratching at his hand, starts pulling his skin off to discover that he’s got a cartoon hand. It’s all going a bit Roger Rabbit.

A date is arranged between them, his brother and another woman, and Martina and Maurizio end up getting friendly, but the cartoon transformation progresses.

Martina follows him to his apartment, trying to find him. I like this sight gag where she can’t see him.

It all ends happily when Maruizio finally reveals his true self to Martina, and she loves him anyway. There’s a lesson we can all learn.

Next, it’s Torch Song Trilogy in which, according to the Channel Four announcer, “love is for everyone, not just heterosexuals.” I guess that was a notable message in 1993.

This is part of Channel Four’s Summer’s Out season. Right on.

Although Harvey Fierstein wrote the show this is based on, and originated the part, he had to fight to be cast in his own story. I imagine the studio wanted a movie star – i.e. a ‘straight’ actor playing gay.

I’ve often wondered whether he had to undergo some sort of drastic fitness regime before they would let him be in the film. He’s almost too thin here.

His family are interesting. His father seems fine with his career as a drag queen, and his sexuality. It’s his mother, Anne Bancroft, who has a problem with it.

The film is really about Arnold’s (Fierstein) search for true love. He’s uncomfortable with the anonymous back-room scene in New York, and really yearns for a stable family life.

After a couple of unsuccessful romances, he meets Matthew Broderick. He’s a young male model, and he falls head over heels in love with Arnold. They even decide to adopt a child, a 15 year old, troubled, and gay.

But tragedy strikes when Alan goes to help a man being beaten by a gang of thugs, and is beaten to death.

This leads into the final part of the trilogy where Arnold, and his son David, along with old boyfriend Ed, who has split up from his wife, play host to Arnold’s mother, and, after some fireworks, come to a shaky appreciation of each other’s lives. Bancroft in particular is wonderful here.

I like this movie, and particularly that at heart it’s a romantic story about someone who’s looking for love and commitment. But I still think Fierstein needs to eat some food.

After this movie, the tape ends.

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