The Twelve Shorts of Christmas #9: L’Amore Non Ha Confini (1998)

Italy / 15 minutes / color / Indigo Dir & Scr: Paolo Sorrentino Pr: Nicola Giuliano Cine: Pasquale Mari Cast: Gianni Ferreri, Gaetano Amato, Giovanni Esposito, Caterina De Regibus (i.e., Caterina Deregibus), Luigi Petrucci.

Gianni Ferreri as Beato

A piece of Mafia-related surrealism that’s peculiarly difficult to say anything about precisely because it is surrealistic.

It starts out mundanely enough (so to speak) by following besuited hitman Beato Trepiedi (Ferreri) around his neighborhood in Licola, an area in Naples province, Italy; the only thing that seems odd is that, while Beato fires his guns at the slightest provocation—or none at all—he never seems to hit anything that matters.

He’s summoned to a meeting with the big boss, Mahatma (Petrucci), who lives in a bunker and who dresses and behaves in a manner reminiscent of an exaggeratedly flamboyant pope — a cut-price Borgia as imagined by Mel Brooks, shall we say. Beato is ordered to identify and kill the member of Mahatma’s entourage who has “betrayed” the boss by saying he’s getting fat.

Luigi Petrucci as Mahatma

Beato obeys, but then realizes that the beautiful woman who is Mahatma’s lover/wife and seeming sex slave, Eva Primadonna (Deregibus), is Beato’s own long-lost love, to whom he said farewell decades ago in the expectation they’d never see each other again . . .

Summarized like that, events seem almost to make sense. Believe me, they don’t.

Caterina Deregibus as Eva Primadonna

This was the first solo piece from director Paolo Sorrentino. (An earlier joint effort with Stefano Russo, 1994’s Un Paradiso, is just two minutes long.) Sorrentino has gone on to become widely regarded as one of Italy’s most prestigious directors, his many feature offerings including at least one of noirish interest, Le CONSEGUENZE DELL’AMORE (2004; vt The Consequences of Love), nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2004. I’ve had his English-language debut, This Must Be the Place (2011)—in which Sean Penn plays a has-been rock star hunting down a Nazi war criminal—in my sights for a while. But Sorrentino is best known for La Grande Bellezza (2013; vt The Great Beauty), which was screened in competition for the Palme d’Or in 2013 at Cannes and won the Best Foreign Language Oscar early the following year.

In 1999 L’Amore Non Ha Confini received First Prize at the Corto Circuito di Napoli and was a selection of the 16th Turin Film Festival. In 2005 it was awarded the New Vision Prize at the Rome Independent Film Festival.

Sweet romance

2 thoughts on “The Twelve Shorts of Christmas #9: L’Amore Non Ha Confini (1998)

  1. I don’t want to put you off, but This Must Be the Place is probably Sorrentino’s worst film. Is L’Amore Non Ha Confini on the ‘net?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.