Freaks Out: the film lesson from Italy


The Americans do not have a monopoly on the superpowers. And fortunately In comics, works like the Chimeric Brigade from Serge Lehman and Jesus They come to remind us that Europe developed an abundant imagination before the Second World War, and that the first superheroes came from the old continent. In the cinema, many directors, French or European, have also taken up the theme of superpowers and, much freer than the interpreters of a huge Hollywood studio, they can give a breath of fresh air to the record. This is a cinema that deserves just as much, if not more, to be talked about for what it brings to pop culture, and that’s how we want to talk about it, even if it’s not about comic book adaptations as such. how i became a superhero Where the inocents are part of it, and today it is time to return to Freaks outthe new movie gabriele mainetti. Because this is a great cinema.

Del Toro’s X-Men

Already in 2015, Mainetti showed us what Italian cinema was capable of doing on the question of powers and responsibilities by choosing to focus on a thug who gained superpowers by falling into the Tiber, and a completely mad quest to do the same in the superb We call it Jeeg Robot. Seven years later, the second feature film by the Italian director arrives in France (thanks to the good care of metropolitan movies); if in addition the superpowers are always present, the scenario of history changes radically. We go to the past, to a Rome under Nazi occupation in which a circus company tries to flee the country to go to the United States. But when Israelthe owner of the circus, disappears while looking for a smuggler, the comparsa formed by Matilda, Cencio, fulvius and Mario they must go find him, or adjust to what their new life in Rome could be. Because the great Berlin Circus is installed in the place, and it is said that there is work there…

We’d just be tempted to tell you that given the current landscape of movies dealing with superpowers, and particularly after the new outrage of sony imagesthat he they should just go see Freaks out remember everything that can be done when you have a minimum of freedom and creativity. yes the movie Mainetti it is not perfect, it overflows imagination and discoveries, whether they are purely technical and visual or in the illustration of certain concepts. The introductory scene will immediately set the tone for you: the film opens with a long sequence shot, during which we are introduced to the five main protagonists, as well as their power. Thus, the bushy fulvius (Claudio SantamarĂ­awho already accompanied Mainetti inside check the bot) is endowed with super strength; the electric Matilda (Aurora Giovinazzo) passes currents through his skin and thus can turn on a light bulb with his touch, which is not without some daily problems regarding contact with others; the cheeky Cencio (Peter Castellitowith a crazy look reminiscent of the brilliant luca marinelli) is able to command all surrounding insects; while the rogue Mario (giancarlo martini) attracts all metals to itself. This beautiful display of power, virtuous in image and enchanting, is brutally interrupted by the cruel reminder of the film’s historical situation. We went from dream to nightmare suddenly, Freaks out immediately setting the tone. No family or good-natured production on the horizon: Nazism is wreaking havoc, war is no fun, and it will truly be a matter of survival for our heroes.

With the disappearance ofIsraelthe plot will very quickly focus on a central place, the berlin circus which was installed in the heart of the city. This is where the daemon is installed. Franzother phenomenon endowed with six fingers on each hand, and who has come to hate all “abnormal” people like him. Also endowed with visions of the future, he is convinced that he will be able to form a small army of “monsters” (in a way X Men, doom patrol Where suicide squad) who will obtain the favors of the Leader. A pathetic character wonderfully played by Franz Rogowski, whose slight hair on the tongue amplifies, curiously, the character’s dangerousness. No complacency with fascism: if the character of Franz he has his motives and is presented as possessing a part of humanity (he has a wife, whom he loves), there is never any ambiguity about the stature of his actions. The circus framework allows Mainetti to have a good time in the staging, from the main theater to the dungeons that serve as a torture room in the basement. Everything is done so that the sets serve the staging, and the camera turns with some ease to take us, each time, to the heart of the action, without ever getting bored. The director uses his know-how to offer ideas for framing and directing, at all times, whether the effort is frontal or barely concealed. Without saying much more, we confess that we were both amused and fascinated by the way in which a huge zizi is used as the central element of a curious tableau in a much less amusing context (you will understand when you see the film).

Scenic elements that also serve the powers of our heroes. The discourse on the difference of others is necessarily present in the framework of the Nazi occupation – for whom, either monsters or Jews, there are not too many differences – and although one suspects that the special effects budget is not the same as that of a Hollywood production – there is no plan during which we do not believe what we see. Because sometimes all it takes is a little inventiveness, which doesn’t take much, to offset the economy. As if to illustrate the divination powers of Franz who, therefore, can see the future. And in his shows he enjoys playing the piano, in front of an audience from the 40s, pop hits from the 2000s – a truly fascinating scene, which we also suggest you find in the following video, and which perfectly illustrates all the ideas that Mainetti set in your movie. A touch of madness that would also remind the cinema of a del toro – a referent who never does homework, you will agree.

Freaks out is carried by its characters. Beyond the display of her skills, which evolve with the film and are also at the center of some pretty visual finds, it’s the actors and actresses that impress. Young man Matilda, central figure, accurately interprets a whole range of emotions and although her narrative arc is still quite classic, we like to see her evolve and position herself on the issue of the use of violence in a context where the enemy never hesitates to take down his enemies. adversary. the character of Mario brings a touch of comedy (mainly because, we don’t know why, he seems to be suffering from an addiction to masturbation, and it is this kind of weirdness that also reminds us that we are in a cinema that frees itself of many things that others don’t). allow it). Cencio also brings a bit of lightness, while fulvius is the one who will occupy the second most important role, his actor brimming with charisma under the makeup. Although his publisher will admit he is not an expert in the Italian game despite his own origins, from his point of view, everything hits the mark. Both in the darkest scenes and in the funniest moments. We also repeat Franz he’s still a brilliant villain in his pathos and his portrayal, but the supporting cast isn’t far behind, especially a hunchbacked Italian resistance fighter played by Max Mazzottatrue copy of Vincent Cassel inside sheitan and absolutely delusional.

We already told you about the adult content of the film: Mainetti He knows how to be generous in a film that is sometimes crude (even on the sexual level) and quite violent, which he plays at various tables. On the one hand, with a realistic form of violence to remember the horrors of war; on the other, a more cathartic and pleasant violence, which will allow us to show Nazis with duly dislocated faces throughout the film. To watch in 2022, with the context we know, there’s something fundamentally pleasurable about seeing a director attacking his own country’s past so head-on while echoing a much more modern reality. In addition, because in the confrontations there will also be plenty of good ideas. If only for one last part suffering from rough editing and a distinct lack of readability, one would be tempted to say that Freaks out It is at the highest level from start to finish. But die-hard movie and tech fans will obviously have things to say about the messy, but happily messy climax.

This generosity is also found in the decoration, with a magnificently represented Rome, a Berlin Circus also impressive in its construction, and a Mainetti that uses all the iconography of the Third Reich to transform the German flags, swastikas, eagles and other paraphernalia of Nazi propaganda to constitute an imagery that marks. The placement of the artifices, the choice of settings, of the lights, everything makes one want to stop (but one cannot, in the cinema) to take an interest in the construction of the sets. In short, it is difficult to find anything to complain about for a particularly entertaining genre film, pleasant both visually and in terms of its ideas (except perhaps for a poorly conducted romance that raises questions about the supposed age of the characters involved). Especially, Freaks out The cry of inventiveness and love for the seventh art is such that it is incomprehensible that this type of film does not reach more people, or do not find more critical echo. However, it is this type of artistic proposal for which this medium exists, and for which the public can be led to dream, tremble, laugh and fall in love with superpowers. It’s not so much that we have to make a comparison with adaptations of American comics, which sometimes also have their qualities (we always say it when we think it’s the case), but gabriele mainetti he is a craftsman of the image and has a lot to offer with his cinema: it is a performance to greet, but also to support. When going to the cinemas.

After The Innocents, Freaks Out masterfully shows us once again how much European cinema knows how to bring to life the imagination linked to superpowers. Freaks Out is a demon of inventiveness, seeking to surprise its viewer from start to finish with its staging, excite them with its characters and make them exultant with its freedom of tone and its cathartic violence. If only for an ending too messy to ignore, we’d like to give the final note, as Gabriele Mainetti’s work is to be greeted and encouraged. If you are lucky enough to have a cinema near you that shows Freaks Out, do not hesitate: you will have few opportunities to experience a cinematic moment like this on the big screen.


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