After Midnight

Italian filmmaker Davide Ferrario's fable about love, movies and the love of movies is set in and around Turin's historic Mole Antonelliana, the ornate 19th-century building that houses Italy's National Museum of Cinema. Obsessive movie buff Martino (Giorgio Pasotti) has withdrawn so deeply into his film-fueled fantasies that he's almost as silent as the...read more

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Italian filmmaker Davide Ferrario's fable about love, movies and the love of movies is set in and around Turin's historic Mole Antonelliana, the ornate 19th-century building that houses Italy's National Museum of Cinema. Obsessive movie buff Martino (Giorgio Pasotti) has withdrawn so deeply into his film-fueled fantasies that he's almost as silent as the presound pictures he adores. A custodian at the Museum of Cinema, he lives, like some benign phantom of the movies, in a little, secret room up in the building's dome that he's furnished with kooky conveniences — a fold-up bed, a clothing rack that descends from the ceiling on a rope — inspired by things he's seen in Buster Keaton films. He's nursing an intense crush on Amanda (Francesca Inaudi), who works in the local fast-food joint. Martino stops off every night for dinner — he doesn't even like the Double-Fry burger and frites special — but he's too shy to introduce himself. For her part, Amanda hates her exploitative boss, who regularly makes her work past midnight so she misses the last bus home, and has just about had it with her philandering boyfriend, Angel (Fabio Troiano). Amanda's roommate, flighty hairdresser Barbara (Francesca Picozza), never misses an opportunity to flirt with Angel, but Amanda is tired of the fact that he never stays the night and stands her up as often as he honors their plans. And Angel, who lords it over a half-witted gang of aspiring gangsters and steals cars for a dragon lady who treats him like scum, is just a little tired of maintaining his tough-guy bona fides. Their paths converge the night Amanda's frustration boils over and she scalds her boss with cooking oil. Fleeing the police, she ducks into the museum. Martino lets her hide out and the inevitable romance blossoms, with the equally inevitable movie-inspired complication: Amanda still loves the two-timing Angel, who in turn tries to clean up his act when he realizes he's in danger of losing her. They quickly learn, as countless others no doubt have, that the JULES AND JIM (1962) solution is more than a little awkward in real life. The gorgeous Mole Antonelliana is the breakout star of Ferrario's fluffy valentine to the cinema, which is weighed down by annoyingly precious voice-over narration (by familiar comic actor Silvio Orlando) and a few more precious conceits than any lighter-than-air love story should be asked to support.

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