Here’s a ‘good news’ story. The maker of wonderful films of the 1960s and 1970s returns after an absence of nearly a decade with a modest film that’s very good and one that you’ll want to recommend to people. In the 1980s and 1990s Bertolucci became known for epic films (most of which I confess didn’t go to see) made with Jeremy Thomas and smaller films that were sometimes controversial in their representations of teenage sexuality. Stealing Beauty (1996) comes to mind. At first Me and You looks like it is in line with many of the earlier films – a dysfunctional family and the possibility of ‘socially unacceptable’ sexual relationships. There was a moment when I thought that this was going to be a kind of re-run of La luna from 1979. But although there are shared plot elements, Me and You turns out to be something else.
Lorenzo is a 14 year-old boy living with his mother who has ‘escaped’ into his own company. Challenged by a psychiatrist he claims to be ‘normal’. When a school ski-ing trip is being planned, he decides to tell his mother that he wants to go, but secretly organises his own hideaway week in the basement of their apartment block. All goes well until his older half-sister arrives unexpectedly. I won’t spoil what then happens but you will create your own expectations of a drama played out in a confined space and mainly as a two-hander. Before the screening Festival Director Tom Vincent suggested that Jacopo Olmo Antinori who plays Lorenzo is a star of the future. He is certainly very good in this film, but an important element of his success – and that of the film overall – is that we as the audience contribute to the success of the performances by making our own evaluations and then see them challenged. Tea Falco as Olivia, the half-sister is also very good. This is a ‘slight’ film in some ways, as other festival critics have reported, but it works very well. It’s satisfying to see a great director back on form. The film has been acquired by Artificial Eye for UK distribution and it is scheduled to open next Friday, 19 April. Make a date, you’ll enjoy it.