This stylish Italian drama based on the novel by Stephen Amidon has already managed to win 42 awards, including seven Italian Golden Globes. Director Paolo Virzì relocated the action from America to modern-day Italy and divided the plot into three chapters. The result is a gripping, carefully constructed feature film with starring roles for two of Italy’s most celebrated actresses: Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Valeria Golino.
The camera looks down on a party that has just finished. The confetti is being swept up and the tables cleared, the guests have gone home. A waiter leaves on his bike and is knocked down by a car. The car drives on. What follows is a real whodunnit, complete with false accusations and surprising plot twists. The three chapters show the lead-up to the accident from the perspective of different characters. The key information is, of course, released little by little and so the story is gripping to the very end. But, really, for the director Paolo Virzì this isn’t an exercise in producing an exciting narrative. The Human Capital is essentially a study of the contrast between the socially successfully and the scrapers and bunglers at the bottom of the heap. And it’s a study of people as ignorant fools who, when it comes down to it, and whether rich or poor, are driven by emotions like greed and blind love.
This Italian Oscar entry for the Best Foreign Film showcases the crème de la crème of Italy’s actors guild. So it is enjoyable on every level! (AB)