This is the story of a woman who meets a man and allows herself to dream again. This is also the story of her sickly brother and their mother. It is the story of a destiny – that of a large family from the Italian industrial bourgeoisie. This is the story of the end of an era.
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Blatantly autobiographical, A Castle in Italy lacks the tonal control of her earlier films; in unlocking the familial cabinet of horrors, Bruni-Tedeschi allows the perversity of the superrich to overrun her directorial authority.
It’s a delicate patchwork of emotions put together with panache and occasional self-indulgence – the scene where the very ill Ludovic dances with his mother is wonderful; other moments of abjection are rather theatrical.
Tedeschi is the heir of to the most rhetorical French cinema, the one that specialized in group hysteria of a familiar universe, with a supposed existential pathos. Apart from the slapstick scene of the santified chair, the whole movie is an excruciating banality, if not unbearable, as the flamboyant clown Louis Garrel.