There was some angst in wondering if Italian filmmaker Matteo Garrone was about to revisit the gritty reality of his 2008 Canne Film Festival Grand Jury Prize-winner, Gomorrah, with his latest Naples-centric film — appropriately titled — Reality.
After all, he had planned on using the film’s star, Aniello Arena, a real-life Italian criminal (prison record and all that goes with it) in Gomorrah, but apparently Italian authorities nixed that idea, so Garrone turned around and cast him as the lead in his next film, Reality — with that, you had to figure that he found a way around the problem.
A great sigh of relief. Yes, things are tough for criminals in Naples, but we’ve been there and done that … and Garrone did it very well. Reality is an entirely different kettle of fish.
With Reality, due out on both DVD and Blu-ray from Oscilloscope Laboratories on Aug. 13, we get a film that is Felliniesque in both style and subject matter. Indeed, if you listen closely you can almost hear the master say, “Non mi ricordo di questo film!” Pure Fellini!
The ARR is 151 days and the box office take for the film’s limited arthouse run was $55,261.
Arena plays a Neapolitan fishmonger named Luciano, who is obsessed (and that’s putting it mildly) with an Italian television reality show called Grande Fratello (aka: Big Brother). It doesn’t matter that he is not selected for the show … the human mind is perfectly capable of creating any reality that it wishes. And Luciano does exactly that.
You could call Reality a comedy; dark, to be sure. You could call it a social drama; a mosaic of Italian culture as seen from an oddly structured set of reference points.
Whichever side you come down on, you will have to admit that Garrone’s Reality is a visual feast … one viewing will simply not do.
Bonus features included a newly-prepared video interview with director Matteo Garrone, a behind-the-scenes featurette titled “Dreams Are My Reality,” a profile of the actor/criminal Aniello Arena titled “Luciano” and deleted scenes.
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