After two relatively less memorable movies (Un giorno perfetto and Saturno contro), Ferzan Ozpetek has made a wonderful comeback with Mine vaganti (Loose Cannons). It still carries Özpetek’s signature story about residual regrets and restricted love but at least he has learned to also have fun in the process.
The movie starts with a familiar thread – a seemingly carefree son returns home from Rome to his hometown, Lecce in southern Italy, to join an important family dinner. In the dinner, the father is going to announce his intention to partner with another powerful family for their pasta business. The problem is, the son (Tommaso – played by Riccardo Scaramarcio) doesn’t want to inherit the business nor does he want to base his life in Lecce. He wants to be in Rome, be a writer – and he also happens to be gay. He wants to come out during the important dinner. When he conveys the message to his older brother Antonio (Alessandro Preziosi), Antonio tries to prevent him from doing so – to no avail. Antonio is the obedient and proper son, who has been working with his father at their pasta factory all his life while Tommaso studies in Rome. All hell breaks loose when Antonio steals Tommaso’s thunder during the important dinner and announces that he himself is gay as well and that for the last 30 years he has kept it a secret from his family. The rest of the movie is a poignant and yet very funny portrayal on how the family tries to find the equilibrium again. You will have to watch the movie to see whether the father (Ennio Fantastichini – who is also in La cosa giusta) ends up accepting Antonio or whether Tommaso does come out at the end or not.
Whilst there are some stereotypical scenes with Tommaso’s gay friends trying to act ‘straight’, the key theme of the story is love and regret – there is a touching story at the end where the the past and the present seem to collide in a party scene. I will not spoil it for you nor will I share about the other central character in the movie who is haunted by regrets and lost love.
The movie also stars Nicole Grimaudo who is also in Baaría – she looks stunning in this movie as Alba – a girl who is seemingly tough but with a vulnerable centre. It’s quite a different role to the one she plays in Baaría! The other actors also portray their role very well, including Ilaria Occhini as the grandma.
I really enjoyed Mine vaganti as my personal finale of the Italian Film Festival this year – along with Baaría, this movie is also the highlight of my selection this year.