Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Summer in Genoa: Movie Review

Guilt and sadness stripped down to nothing.

Tragedy strikes and Joe (Colin Firth) whisks his two daughters off to Italy for "A Summer in Genoa". Not a fun-filled holiday but an attempt to rebuild their lives after the mother dies. The positive reviews refer to this as a film stripped down to the bare realities of life, I refer to it more as a film stripped down to nothing.   2008 (with DVD release in 2011)

Directed by: Michael Winterbottom

Screenplay by: Laurence Coriat and Michael Winterbottom

Starring: Colin Firth and Catherine Keener

Flat dialogue removes the life of the still living characters who have become nothing but embodiments of guilt and the aftermath of a tragedy. There is nothing but the element of loss to connect us to these characters, and I need more than that. An overwhelming soundtrack of sad and dramatic scores, Italian music and background noise prepare us for even more devastating events but quick cuts then always bring us back to the same space we were in before.

This is an experienced filmmaker who knows that simple scenes with only a sleight of hand can tell us so much, but I believe that only works when there is more than nothing happening in the film. It's also a film with a great look for its low budget, but it does not show off the beauty of Genoa (or Genova in Italian).

If you're looking for a small, raw film about loss, then "A Summer in Genoa" is actually good. But I want and need more than just examples of guilt and sadness in movies.


(2010) - Intelligent subtexts to two grieving parents.

(2008) - Revolutionary characters that have to see themselves before the world.

(2010) - A tragically real, beautiful and blue portrayal of one relationship.