Dir: Bernardo Bertolucci
Stars: Tea Falco, Jacopo Olmo Antinori, Sonia Bergamasco
Bernardo Bertolucci is not a man who shies away from controversy. Since Last Tango in Paris caused a furore on release back in 1972, he has continued to make films which have pushed boundaries such as The Dreamers, Stealing Beauty and La Luna. He’s also been responsible for some undeniable classics The Conformist and The Last Emperor. Whilst Me & You may flirt with the ground covered by La Luna, threatening to deviate down darker paths at any moment, it is a touching and ultimately sweet drama.
Lorenzo (Antinori) is a trouble 14 year old loner who is struggling to connect with the rest of the world. To please his mother (Bergamasco) he agrees to go on a skiing trip with school, but secretly plans to spend the week in their building’s basement. His peace is shattered when his estranged half-sister Olivia (Faloc) arrives in a desperate bid to kick her drug habit. The awkward pair gradually begins to find some solace in each other’s company, a strange bond building between them.
Whilst Me & You will not go down as one of Bertolucci’s great films, it is a small gem of a character study. With nearly all of the action taking place in the cellar, it relies on great acting performances from both the leads, along with some intricate and adventurous camera work. He is not a director to shy away from realism or conflict, so don’t expect the actors to look like they’ve just walked out of a Hollywood salon. Falco’s portrayal of a disturbed stray battling drug addiction is particularly astute.
There is always the nagging worry that something more sinister lays beneath the pair’s relationship, but instead what we get is a touching and subdued study of the effect of human contact and love on a pair of lost children. You can tell that Bertolucci is having fun as he experiments with countless camera angles and techniques, making it visually dazzling. There is also a vibrant indie soundtrack including a stunning Italian version of Bowie’s Space Oddity.
Me and You may not be Bertolucci at his imperious best, but it is an impressive and modest drama which is both heart-warming and life-affirming.
See it now at http://www.showroomworkstation.org.uk/meandyou