The definitions leave the time they find, especially in the cinema. But what exactly Latin America, where, it must be said immediately, the Latin term does not indicate South America but the Lazio city of the Pontine marshes? A Kafkaesque excavation on a good man cornered from an unexpected event, beyond all logic? A psycho-social thriller in the style of Bad Tales? A nightmare about dissociation, paranoia, and therefore horror worthy of David Lynch? The cinema of the D’Innocenzo twins, however you want to judge it, consistency and courage, without discounts and shortcuts. Analysis of the gray area, of the dark and ignored side that lies within us. Journey into the middle ground of discomfort and despair through the portrait of a man apparently satisfied, yet fragile, close to neurosis.
A man who strives to be happy from a common point of view, actually squeezed between the image it should correspond to and what it feels like it is. The gaze of the camera coincides with that of Massimo Sisti, enriched dentist, owner of an established practice, owner of a villa with swimming pool, with a father who doesn’t love him and always looking for money, a devoted wife, Alessandra, e two blond and well-behaved daughters: the teenager Laura and the little Ilenia.
The place where the story takes place is not accidental. Latina a city that has raised its head after the reclamation of its swamps by the fascist regime: underneath, water always flows, the amniotic fluid in which to settle down and cancel oneself. The cellar where Massimo gets lost, a true horror-gothic stage, it recalls the Latin America of dictators and disappeared and translates the key image of the film: the conscience in turmoil, the incubator of malaise, the place of an unpredictable turning point. The land of enough becomes the land of ghosts.
In that cellar Massimo finds a girl bound and gagged asking for help. The balance is broken and nothing will be the same as before. What Massimo believed he had achieved thanks to his will and his correctness, all his certainties, the very profile of his identity suddenly fall away, opening unknown doors.
The D’Innocenzo twins aim to understand what happens in the mind of a normal man when faced with an event egI tremble. Who brought that pleading girl to the cellar? Around the villa there is only a desolate periphery: a few bars, a car service route, other villas all the same, the leaden sky of Matteo Garrone’s dark tales. But the film is not a classic noir: the search for a culprit is irrelevant. Most important are the psychological investigation, the cause-effect relationship, the emotional tidal wave. Massimo has lost sight of himself for too long. The limit crossed. It is here that the coherence and courage of the D’Innocenzo brothers enter into the sharing of the spectators and find a synthesis in the interpretation of Elio Germano, true existential alter ego of the Brothers, with a shaved head and an anaffective gaze but endowed with an exceptional interior charge.
LATIN AMERICA by Fabio and Damiano D’Innocenzo
(Italy, 2021, duration 90 ‘)
with Elio Germano, Astrid Casali, Sara Ciocca, Maurizio Lastrico, Carlotta Gamba, Federica Pala, Filippo Dini, Massimo Wertmuller
Rating: *** out of 5
In the halls
January 15, 2022 | 07:44
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