“Reality”: Toxic celebrity, Italian-style

eb54mf “Reality”: Toxic celebrity, Italian style

eb54mf “Reality”: Toxic celebrity, Italian style

No doubt the recent Italian comedy we should be watching this week is Nanni Moretti’s “Habemus Papam,” released last year, in which Michel Piccoli plays a newly elected pope who suffers a panic attack and refuses to greet the throngs in St. Peter’s Square. So far the reign of Pope Francis lacks that degree of zany melodrama, though he’s got time. But there are plenty of spiritual and cultural lessons to be dug out of Matteo Garrone’s colorful and intriguing “Reality” – the English word is also the Italian title – the farcical fable of a Neapolitan everyman seduced by the lure of celebrity.If “Reality” isn’t quite as impressive as Garrone’s 2008 “Gomorrah,” an operatic and many-stranded saga about the long tentacles of Naples’ criminal underworld, it makes clear that he’s a filmmaker who can take a familiar story and infuse it with strangeness and vitality. While “Gomorrah” seemed more akin to the big-canvas social and moral criticism of the late Michelangelo Antonioni, “Reality” recalls other models – a little bit Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita,” and a whole bunch Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy.” Continue Reading…

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“Reality”: Toxic celebrity, Italian-style

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