The Family Friend review

“A dive into humanity and its degeneracy,” is how Neapolitan writer-director Paolo Sorrentino tags his wonderfully strange new film. Ducking simple categorisation, it’s also (deep breath) a Beauty And The Beast fairytale, a homage to Fellini’s small-town tragic-comedies, a con-artist drama and a study in emotional dysfunction.

Living alone with his invalid mum in a leaky apartment, elderly loanshark Geremia (Giacomo Rizzo) is, as he puts it, “a pathetic and disgusting person”. It’s while shilling himself to clients as a deep-pocketed benefactor that he meets the stunning Rosalba (Laura Chiatti), whose wedding is causing her olds financial woe.

Those who saw The Consequences Of Love won’t be surprised at how Sorrentino (with Romanzo Criminale DP Luca Bigazzi) blurs the boundaries between dream and reality. Wrangling the characters in vividly coloured tableaux, he dazzles the viewer with an array of enigmatic images.


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