Nostalgia Review – FilmTotaal Review
Director: mario martone | Script: Ermanno Rea, Mario Martone | Cast: Pierfrancesco Favino (Felice Lasco), Francesco Di Leva (Father Luigi Rega), Tommaso Ragno (Oreste Spasiano), Aurora Quattrocchi (Teresa Lasco), Sofia Essaïdi (Arlette), ea | Time to play: 117 minutes | Year: 2022
According to the modern encyclopedia called Wikipedia, nostalgia is a term derived from the Greek words nostos (return) and algos (sadness). It represents the feeling when one has lost something important or dear. This manifests itself in nostalgia for the past. Or to put it in much simpler words: before, everything was better, or at least that’s what people think.
Felice, in her fifties, is dealing with exactly that nagging feeling. Since childhood, the Italian lived in the working-class neighborhood of Sanità, just outside the hustle and bustle of Naples. Marked by absolute poverty, the violent Camorra mafia still rules this neighborhood. At the age of fifteen, young Felice went to Cairo to seek a better life there, at least it seems so.
When the Italian learns that his elderly mother’s health is becoming increasingly difficult, Felice returns to her hometown. He not only discovers the love of his mother, whom he has missed all these years, but also faces the real reason why he left the Sanità neighborhood behind. An old childhood friend has everything to do with it.
Director Mario Martone was deeply impressed by Ermanno Rea’s novel of the same name, which was published some five years ago. It was especially the key scene of the son bathing his mother that convinced the filmmaker that he should turn the book into a movie. The bathroom scene also leaves a very deep mark on the film. The confirmation that now the roles are reversed, that the end is near and, above all, the recognition that what has been done will not change.
While Nostalgia Now that it’s being screened in our author rooms, this title has already advanced a lot at festivals. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and a month later won four Nastro d’Argentos (Silver Ribbons) that were later reaffirmed with Italy’s participation in the 2023 Oscars as icing on the cake.
Nostalgia it is largely supported by the subdued but impressive performance of Pierfrancesco Favino, who walks through the maze of Neapolitan streets only to realize that nothing has changed. The melancholic image catapults him back to his hectic teenage years, which the moviegoer views through boxy amateur camera footage that looks like it came straight from a home projector.
Without falling into the clichés of mafia stories, Mario Martone shows Neapolitan life as it is. The beauty, but also the elusive gray of it and the undeniable power that the Catholic Church still has there. Nostalgia It not only shows the portrait of a man who denies himself and fights with him, but also that of a city that floats between splendor and horror. Nostalgia It is slow cinema, but one of those in which there is much to discover.