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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Paolo Virzi's latest film hits American theaters

The cast of "Human Capital"
Starting today, Americans are in for a rare cinematic treat.. Paolo Virzì’s latest film, "Human Capital," begins showing at theaters across the country.

The Wikipedia definition of human capital is- the stock of knowledge, habits, social and personality attributes, including creativity, embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value. Well, the film, which was adapted from American writer, Stephen Amidon’s book pretty much covers all these attributes. The story begins after a cyclist is run off the road. That incident sets the stage for a rollercoaster ride of drama, egos, greed, opulence and destruction. The director’s visual expression of the novel has drawn incredible performances from his actors. Virzì has a history of empathizing with his characters to really get into their heads, which in turn leads to complete transformation, and it helps to have some of the most talented contemporary Italian actors, such as FabrizioBentivoglio, Valeria Golino, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Fabrizio Gifuni interpreting those roles.

Q&A at Open Roads: New Italian Cinema film series
Paolo Virzì
Born in the northern seaside town of Livorno in 1964, Paolo Virzì has become one of the most respected and innovative directors of his generation. He is known for utilizing the classic film genre, Commedia all’italiana, which was created by iconic filmmakers like Mario Monicelli and Pietro Germi, and is reflective of Italian pop-culture. It’s a way in which Italians could laugh and make fun of themselves a bit even in the darkest of days. It was especially popular in the years following World War II when Italians really did need some comedy relief. 

"Caterina va in città" is a great example of Virzì’s interpretation of this style of filmmaking with the namesake character, new to a school, just trying to fit in, faces growing pains and peer pressure while her parents are total train wrecks just trying to get by themselves. This recipe makes us laugh hysterically while feeling sorry for poor Caterina, hoping she could meet a least one sincere friend. It certainly helped Virzì to have veteran actors like Sergio Castellitto, Sergio Rubini, Margherita Buy and a guest appearance by TV Host, Maurizio Costanzo to pull off this Commedia all’italiana more than half a century after it was born. What’s so unique about Virzì’s work is the thin line of comedy and tragedy upon which he balances, and again this was very apparent in this 2003 film.

With Virzì in NYC
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Virzì several times at various film festivals. He is a real people person, asking just as many questions as the person interviewing him. He strikes me as someone with the curiosity of a child always looking to explore and discover something new. This quality undoubtedly makes him the successful, resourceful director that he has become. 

If "Human Capital" is playing at a theater near you, I highly recommend seeing it. You will also be treated to an enchanting soundtrack written by his brother, Carlo. The siblings are a filmmaking team upon which dreams are made.

Click here to watch the film’s trailer and to find a theater in your area. 

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