Written and directed by Dominique Deruddere from John Fante's novel, WAIT UNTIL SPRING, BANDINI is a heartfelt 1920s family saga. Set in Rocklin, Colorado, just before Christmas Eve, Svevo Bandini (Joe Mantegna) is the unemployed head of a down-on-their-luck immigrant family.
Bandini's trade of stonemason is in low demand due to economic bad times and the severe winter weather. There is no hope for Christmas presents for his two young sons, Arturo (Michael Bacall) and his younger brother. Arturo is the narrator of the events of this troubled time. Their mother, Maria
(Ornella Muti), very much in love with her husband, tries to keep peace in the family between her mother, Donna Toscana (Renata Vanni), and her mate. This is a difficult task. Donna Toscana hates her son-in-law and belittles him at every turn, and his animosity is returned in full measure. All is
not well in the Bandini household. Arturo, always in hot water at the strict Catholic school he attends, is a sharp observer of the world around him. Desperate, Bandini goes to the local bank to get a loan to tide him over during these rough winter months but is turned down.
An explosive confrontation with his mother-in-law sends Bandini into a rage, and he storms out of the house. He meets with his friend Rocco Saccone (Burt Young), also unemployed, and tells him his troubles. Rocco, in the spirit of Christmas, gives Bandini a lead for a job which he has received
from a situation-wanted ad he placed in the local paper. The job is for the local rich widow, Effie Hildegarde (Faye Dunaway), whose fireplace needs fixing. This action sets off a series of events which splits the family apart. Mrs. Hildegarde is lonely, finds her new bricklayer very attractive,
and proceeds to entice him. His guard is down and, although a family man and loyal to his wife, he succumbs and takes advantage of the good life she offers him. Arturo, witnessing these events, keeps the news of his father's fall from grace from his mother, who is still patiently waiting for her
husband's return. When the news leaks out and she learns of his indiscretion, she falls apart. It takes all the ingenuity and cleverness of young Arturo to bring the family unit back into full working and loving order.
Svevo Bandini is an unusual role for Joe Mantegna (HOUSE OF GAMES, THE GODFATHER PART III, HOMICIDE), which he handles with great skill. Faye Dunaway is equally charming in her portrayal of the temptress who eventually sees the error of her ways and sends Bandini back to his wife and family. WAIT
UNTIL SPRING, BANDINI is a film with heart. Young Michael Bacall carries the thread of the family drama with ease in this homespun story of working-class people in dire need. The disaster that families face when they cannot provide even the bare necessities is graphically portrayed in the film.
The emotional havoc caused by these pressures is also fully realized. But despite their monetary hardships, there is always evidence of the love and pride that is inherent in their nature. Deruddere has captured the time, the place and the emotional landscape of an Italian immigrant family trying
to find their place in the sun. (Adult situations.)
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- Released: 1991
- Rating: PG
- Review: Written and directed by Dominique Deruddere from John Fante's novel, WAIT UNTIL SPRING, BANDINI is a heartfelt 1920s family saga. Set in Rocklin, Colorado, just before Christmas Eve, Svevo Bandini (Joe Mantegna) is the unemployed head of a down-on-their-lu… (more)