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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

"Alaska" - Elio Germano's Most Powerful Performance to Date

The film premiered in October at the 2015 Festa del Cinema in Rome. On November 5th, the rest of Italy will be treated to one of the best movies I've seen in a while- "Alaska" by Claudio Cupellini. I was completely blown away when I saw this film at the Festa del Cinema.  "Alaska" is a love story told in a way like no other that I have seen. There is a Bonnie and Clyde element to the story with the two protagonists constantly having run-ins with the law.

Elio Germano and French actress Astrid Berges-Frisbey give powerful performances as Fausto and Nadine, two people that are passionately in love, but cannot manage to stay together. The film begins with the innocence of a young man and woman attracted to each other and lightheartedly getting to know each other. That tone abruptly changes when the two are forced into a violent confrontation to defend themselves. Fausto ends up in jail and Nadine carries on with her life, ending all communication with him. When Fausto is released from jail, he surprisingly finds Nadine waiting for him outside. Their reunion is emotional and intense, setting the stage for the rest of the film. Their rollercoaster relationship is filled with moments of pure happiness, raging anger, laughter, tears, broken hearts, violence, exits, entrances and above all, passionate love. There are so many elements to this story. Nadine is forced to deal with the slow, painful recovery from a car accident and Fausto's involvement with a shady lone shark while he is forced to deal with the profound disappointment of one unfaithful encounter. The stress from the reality of their hard lifestyle eventually breaks them apart but these two always have a way of finding their way back to one another. There is not much comedy relief in this film, and I don't think there were many dry eyes at the end. "Alaska" is a fast-paced, highly emotional drama. If you are looking for a comedy, don't even bother.

Elio Germano at the Festa del Cinema in Rome
Germano's career has been on the upswing lately, especially with his award-winning performance in Mario Martone's "Il giovane favoloso"(Leopardi). His first memorable performance for me was in Daniele Luchetti's 2007 "Mio fratello è figlio unico" (My Brother is an Only Child".. and I have just watched him improve with every performance. "Fausto" is by far his most intense, beautiful character to date. "Alaska" gives him the chance to practice his French as the opening scenes take place in France. It was great watching him talk about this character at the press conference following the media screening. He spoke about his character and the story with all the passion and enthusiasm that he put into his performance.

I am betting on this one for the 2016 edition of Open Roads: New Italian Cinema in New York City. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, check out the trailer.

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