The Big Other
It was last August, an uncomfortably warm afternoon with nothing else to do but wait for the sun to go down so I could go out a bit. There I was with my red pencil and my notebook, ready to spoil the movie by Jan Schomburg The Big Other, with Callum Turner playing the role of a reporter in Rome covering the pope’s election and co-staring Matilde de Angelis as a ‘shortly to be ordained’ nun…
“shh! Quiet, please, it’s starting…”
Rome, Colosseum in the background, a traffic jam: really? Too easy!!!
Close-up on a taxi driver, played by the marvellous Serra Yilmax: I suggest directors get a real cab driver as an extra when shooting in Rome. Even the most outstanding actor or actress can’t catch Roman Taxi drivers’ humour.
The Hotel reception is a smashing déjà vu. Are they kidding, or are they intentional quotes?
I didn’t see that coming
And then something happens and puts me in a different mood, and I didn’t see it coming. The people, idly strolling around the ‘piazza’, start dancing. I love it. My soft spot for Flash Mobs and Tobias Jundt’s music that I hear for the first time, take me away. You know what? I like it.
This movie contains all the clichés I hate, the very reason for wanting this page in my blog. Scenes redone (and overdone) time and time again, redundant, like direct quotes plagarized from the figurative book of Italian stereotypes
The photography is beautiful. The sights in Rome come out at their very best, so beautiful that I shed a tear or two. The magic that changed my mood came from a generous dose of intelligence and the right amount of craziness, absurdity and ‘nonsense’. The charming, warming music did the rest.
And what about the story? Not much to say. Love, in whatever sauce, always saves the day, and when the rival,’The Other’ is powerful, you can expect whatever. The characters move on the edge of ‘nonsense’ and ridicule as if they were tightrope walkers, but in my opinion, never fall off on either side. The millenary tradition of a pope election told with the irreverent cynicism of a ‘Millenial’ was fun and made me smile.
All in all, it took me back to my twenties, in the Sixties and Seventies, when our nights out with the usual bunch of friends started with beautiful speeches and ended at dawn laughing and talking ‘nonsense’. We were part of an Italian generation that cultivated that way of having fun. Absurd and nonsense programmes also pervaded radio and television for a short period, during those years.
That afternoon in Rome, I started well-armed with a red pencil and ended up with loving eyes, like when I look at dressed-up children playing, not doubting for one second that they are what their costumes show. It seems like this absurd movie is made of what some dreams are made of.
I won’t watch it a second time. That’s asking too much. But it made me smile more than once and, most importantly, reminded me that I have preconceptions like everyone else. In Italian I would say ‘Chi di preconcetti ferisce di preconcetti perisce’. How would you say that in English?
As I have already said, we are looking forward to seeing you in Rome. If you let me know when you’re coming, I’ll try to arrange something, so you find a ballet in ‘piazza’: I adore that scene!!!
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