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.
This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what’s now showing
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.