Dir: Ferzan Ozpetek. Italy. 2008. 101mins.
Obsessive love, corrupt politicians, coming-of-age crisis and teenage rebellion are just some of the ingredients in Ferzan Ozpetek’s Competition entry A Perfect Day. Adapted from a novel by Melania Mazzucco, this tragic melodrama spreads itself rather thin trying to pack it all in around the main plot about a policeman and his passionate love and insane jealousy for the woman who has left him. Their doomed relationship may appeal to the home grown crowd and but foreign prospects are far more tricky.
Emma (Ferrari) and Antonio (Mastandrea), who is obviously disturbed, have been living apart for over a year. He stalks her, slaps her around and tries to rape her while trying to convince her to come back. Their two children are Valentina (Murgia), a precocious adolescent, and Kevin (Paolino), a seven-year-old who still wets the bed. Antonio’s boss, Fioravanti (Binasco), an ambitious politician, is too busy chasing his seat in Parliament to realize the problems brewing up at home: his young wife Maja (Grimaudo) who discovers she is pregnant seems a little too fond of his sensitive son Aris (Costantini) who is about to abandon his studies and leave the country. Meanwhile Mara (Guerrritore), Valentina’s teacher, finds out her lover has just left. All these are silently observed by Silvana (Finocchiaro).
This may be Ozpetek’s darkest film yet and he doesn’t feel completely comfortable with the mood. This may explain why Antonio’s violent desire for Emma soon becomes pathological. As such, one soon loses interest in the character and Mastandrea doesn’t really manage to make him sympathetic. Ferrari’s Emma is more interesting: a woman unhappy with getting older, she insists on her independence and pays the price for it. But neither Mastandrea nor Ferrari are given enough space to flesh out their characters. Murgia as her daughter gives a touching performanace and there’s a nice cameo by Stefania Sandrelli as her mother.
Technically as well crafted as most Ozpetek pictures and Fabio Zamarion’s images of Rome by night are a highlight.
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