English title: Scattered Cloud
D: Saverio Di Biagio / 99m
Cast: Michele Alhaique, Greta Scarano, Aylin Prandi, Giorgio Colangeli, Michele Riondino, Paola Tiziana Cruciani, Paolo De Vita
Diego (Alhaique) and Cinzia (Scarano) have been engaged for ten years and finally their wedding is approaching. Diego is having second thoughts about getting married, and while he loves Cinzia, he has the usual young man’s doubts about committing himself. He works as a builder, and while working on a housing project for a Ristoratore (Nick Nicolosi), he’s asked to do some work on the apartment of the man’s niece Viola (Prandi). For Diego, meeting her is like a bolt out of the blue. Viola is a free spirit, a contrast to the practical-minded Cinzia. Where Cinzia’s focus is purely on the wedding, Viola is carefree and artistic; she and Diego go for walks, she gives him a book to read (Haruki Murakami’s Sputnik Sweetheart), and eventually their relationship becomes more intimate. Soon, Diego is leading a double life, and his relationship with Cinzia begins to break down. And then her friend Maria (Cruciani) sees Diego and Viola together…
Scattered Cloud is an engaging, simply told movie that holds the attention but for most of its running time doesn’t really offer anything new (although it does wrong foot the viewer a couple of times). The two relationships – Diego and Cinzia, Diego and Viola – are given equal screen time, and all three actors give good performances. Alhaique portrays both his reluctance to marry and his infatuation with Viola skilfully and with confidence, while Scarano ensures that Cinzia, who could have been just a scold, is shown as being tough and vulnerable at the same time. Prandi does well also with a largely underwritten role, providing Viola with a child-like intensity that allows Diego to see the world around him a little bit differently. (It comes as no surprise when the Ristoratore warns Diego that Viola is “unstable”, but this isn’t taken any further.)
Di Biagio handles things with ease, and directs his cast with a confidence that allows them to expand on the characters as written (he also wrote the script). The movie’s visual style is naturalistic, with an emphasis on low-key lighting and tight close-ups on the characters’ faces. While the script anchors the movie in too-familiar territory, including a sub-plot involving discontented workers at Diego’s workplace, there’s enough here to engage the viewer and keep things interesting, even if, at times, you can anticipate a lot of the dialogue. A mention too for Francesco Cerasi’s score, sparsely but effectively used, and using subtle motifs to highlight the characters’ moods.
Rating: 7/10 – an almost traditional romantic drama, with flashes of humour, that is easy to watch but lacks any real depth or packs any real emotional heft; a pleasant enough diversion that relies heavily on its performances.