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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

What dreams are made of.. Director Gianfranco Cabiddu's stunning homage to Eduardo De Filippo

The tempestuous weather in the Eternal City Wednesday appropriately set the tone for La stoffa dei song (The Stuff of Dreams), the new film by Gianfranco Cabiddu, one of the most significant auteurs of Italian cinema. 

La stoffa dei sogni tells the story of a modest theatre company (to say the least) that is shipwrecked with a group of dangerous organized crime mobsters on the coast of Asinara, the location of an island-prison in the middle of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The story explores the role of art in our lives, bringing to light the universal themes of guilt, revenge, redemption, and pardon.

Director Gianfranco Cabiddu and Sergio Rubini
Vincenzo Carpineta's stunning cinematography sets the stage for what at first seems like a drama but quickly turns into a comedy at the hands of veteran actor/director Sergio Rubini. Adapted from The Tempest by William Shakespeare and L’arte della com media by Eduardo De Filippo, the dialogue between the characters is clever and perfectly timed by outstanding performances. In the opening credits, the film was dedicated to the master, De Filippo.

With Gianfranco Cabiddu at the Rome premiere of "La stoffa dei sogni"
Rubini's character, Oreste Campese is the lead actor of a troupe that includes his wife, daughter and perhaps a random family member. The four board an ill-fated ferry headed for the desolate island of Asinara, the home of a famous prison. The ferry gets caught in the middle of a storm and all inmates along with the unlucky acting troupe are shipwrecked, but on different parts of the shore. Eventually, all their fates meet and Campese is forced to tell the head general of the prison, De Caro, played superbly by Ennio Fantastichini (whose recent performance in Io e lei I very much enjoyed) that three of the criminals originally headed to the prison are actually part of his troupe. De Caro is not buying the story, and challenges the so-called actors to stage Shakespeare's The Tempest - and gives them less than a week to prepare. After a round of hilarious rehearsals and rewrites.. throw in the general's beautiful, rebellious daughter and a creepy island inhabitant that only speaks in Sardinian dialect.. and you have all the ingredients for one brilliant comedy with an endearing ending and life lesson for us all. Of course, each viewer's interpretation is his or her own. However, I walked away with the validation of art's profound importance in our lives- in the way we free our minds and souls, escaping through the interpretations and dreams we find in art, whether the art form is visual or literary.

A quick pose with Sergio Rubini after the film
I have a feeling this one will soon be heading to America. We'll keep you posted on its international distribution. In the meantime, you can catch Sergio Rubini at the Rome Film Festival in "Dobbiamo parlare", a tale of the dialogue between couples. The ensemble cast includes Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Maria Pia Calzone and Isabella Ragonese along with Rubini. The film is one of the festival's headliners and will be shown October 21-23. Check the festival's website for details.

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