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Tommaso is the youngest son of the Cantones, a large, traditional southern Italian family operating a pasta-making business since the 1960s. On a trip home from Rome, where he studies literature and lives with his boyfriend, Tommaso decides to tell his parents the truth about himself. But when he is finally ready to come out in front of the entire family, his older brother Antonio ruins his plans. Written by
Palm Springs Internation Film Festival
It would take an immigrant to create a film like this in Italy....
Bravo for Ivan Cotroneo, the talented translator of Cunningham and Kureishi, among other evident skills, and for Fernan Ozpetek, the only Italian director (though he happens to be Turkish by birth) who regularly and reliably features positive gay characters in his films. In an Italy that, at least as issues of sexual identity and respect for difference are concerned, has just barely crossing the threshold of the 1980s, Ozpetek is a rarity and a treasure. The first two-thirds of Mine Vaganti (Loose Cannons) will seem dated to anyone familiar with the last 30 years of queer representation in American cinema, as will the melodramatic, end-of-the-world reaction of Tommaso's father to learning that his son is gay, but the last third hits all the right dramatic and emotional notes and redeems any doubts one might have about the rest. There are some outstanding performances here: Ilaria Occhini as Tommaso's grandmother, and the gorgeous Nicole Grimaudo as the disconsolate and complex Alba. In fairness, I even have to throttle back some of my knee-jerk dislike for Scamarcio. It's not that he's a standout here, but playing a gay character is still a brave move in Italian cinema, especially for an actor who still depends on teen-heartthrob roles for his bread-and-butter. He's certainly no more or less believable as a gay man than are any of the other actors in the film, though even that's a throwback to the days when U.S. cinema divided representations of gay men between "normal," masculine gays (Tommasowho may be gay, but still knows how to play soccerhis boyfriend, and his brother) and the "sassy gay friends" who are frivolous and effeminate and whose only purpose is to provide comic relief. Still, Mine Vaganti is a giant step forward and a welcome and charming antidote to government silence and Vatican-inspired hate speech.
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