A Little Lust ***
Starring: Andrea Amatto, Pia Englebirth, Corrado Invernizzi, Veronica Pivetti Director: Veronica Pivetti Entitled "Neither Romeo, Nor Juliet" in its native Italian, this coming-of-age indie drama found its way to DVD in the UK last week. Exploring both the attitude toward homosexuality in Italy and the peculiar psychology of superfans' obsessions with their idols, this movie uses a lightly comic approach, with varying degrees of success. Rocco (Amatto) is struggling with his sexuality. Though happy in his own skin, he has to deal with a volatile mother (Englebirth), an alarmingly conceited psychologist father (Invernizzi) and a grandmother (Pivetti) who is a proudly practicing fascist. Away from his family, he shares an obsession for the pop megastar Jody McGee with his friends, for whom the gossip columns' treatment of their idol's coming out is a matter of life and death. As the relationship with his own family deteriorates, Rocco decides to run away with his friends and attend a McGee concert in Milan, but after stealing his mother's car, the whole family set out in hot pursuit. Like many coming-of-age movies, this relies on the audience connecting with its lead, seeing ourselves in Rocco. Frustratingly, Rocco is probably the least interesting character here, where both his friends and family steal each and every scene from beneath him. His friends are a pair of mismatched misfits, while his family are a group of over-intellectualised adults; Rocco is markedly normal, but in a wholly unremarkable and forgettable way. His obsession with Jody McGee is his only real defining feature, while his reaction to his family's rejection is mostly a lot of sulking. Whereas each and every one of the supporting cast has interesting and developed features that make them feel a lot more whole than the tiresome figure they are listlessly propping up. Obviously the McGee character shows up eventually, but the fulfilment of this inevitability is almost an eye-roll moment over a delayed satisfaction. His depiction is somewhat incongruous; an innocent teen idol one minute, but a rebel on the "Sodomy & Masturbation Tour" the next. What is presumably his music is played throughout the film, but none of it fits this projected wild-child image they are trying desperately to ascribe to him, instead sounding like bubble-gum cuteness; definitely not the angst-ridden fury he is claimed to be experiencing. Its original title is clearly intended to be a deconstruction of the standard boy-meets-girl trope, but this isn't really as unusual a story as it seems to think it is. It's a generic road-trip caper, except those in pursuit are far more interesting than their subject. But the English title suggests something profoundly sexual, which this really isn't. There is about as much lust in this film as in Sabrina The Teenage Witch. And though trying very hard to be adult, it gives no more commentary on the fame/fan relationship than an episode of Hannah Montana.
OUT NOW ON DVD AND VOD.