Gianni Amelio (Lamerica) directs this affecting and timely story about a middle-aged, precariously employed jack-of-all-trades in Milan, who doggedly tries to get by in an unfeeling city while trying to retain his dignity and his passions.
Gianni Amelio balances his films between the political and the personal. Neither is very far away from the other, and over his long and illustrious career he has consistently produced a body of work that feels centred in the real world, where both elements intersect. His new film, L'intrepido, continues this tradition. It is engaging, imaginative and sprightly, while unafraid to move into troubling territory.
It focuses on a "substitute" worker (Antonio Albanese) living in Milan, who moves with agility, ease and bemusement among a succession of jobs. Even in middle age he remains a jack of all trades: construction worker, cook, streetcar driver, courier. He can sew seams, launder clothes, or clean a football stadium. He is a kind of Everyman; at times Amelio gives him a persona similar to a type portrayed by Chaplin or Keaton: happy, upbeat, unflappable. But, like the great clowns, he also carries a vein of hurt and unhappiness. His wife has just left him, his hopes are now all pinned on his saxophone-playing son. Into this strange, uncertain world of the marginally employed comes a younger woman, and a relationship of a different kind starts.
Amelio avoids sentiment in this story,
undoubtedly similar to thousands of
others, of a displaced man living in the big
city, trying to get by and keep his dignity
and his passions alive. Keenly concerned
with human elements, the director is at
the same time always conscious of the
landscape that frames his characters' lives,
a backdrop of construction sites, sports
stadiums, factories, workshops, stores;
concrete and brick, steel and glass. Against
this impersonal world, art and love provide
moments of solace, pain and grace. Amelio
is a poet of uncertainty and L'intrepido captures
Italy at a moment where uncertainty