Amanda Revue – comedic crises in the life of a titled 20-something | Venice Film Festival 2022

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AComedian-turned-director Carolina Cavalli makes her feature film debut with this sleek, angular artifice: an absurd existential comedy about a twentysomething named Amanda (Benedetta Porcaroli, of Netflix’s Baby) who has reached a quarter-life crisis.

Amanda has completed an unsatisfactory period of study in Paris and returned to her wealthy family home in Italy, the scene of a childhood accident that nearly drowned in the swimming pool and the base of her extended dysfunctional clan. Like someone waking up from a dream, Amanda finds she has no boyfriend, no job, and no friends. So when her mother (Monica Nappo) tells her that she once played as a child with a local girl called Rebecca, the daughter of her mother’s friend (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), Amanda sets out with fanatical determination to bond friendship with this now adult woman. (Galatéa Belluggi), or to create the illusion that they were once friends. Rebecca turns out to be an agoraphobic shut-in, just as screwed up as Amanda, but that only increases her eligibility to be Amanda’s new best friend.

The film, like its heroine, is on its own spectrum of emotional bewilderment, full of impending close-ups and capricious, asymmetrical compositions, with something of Lanthimos or Kaurismaki, or Italian director Paolo Sorrentino whose influence is obvious. and who is in fact credited for his special contribution. It’s a movie that entertainingly riffs on details that are part of what is essentially a comic universe of first-world problems: Amanda is obsessed with getting enough loyalty points in supermarkets to get a fan electricity that she can sell online. She even gets a temporary job at an appliance store and instantly behaves with reckless bossiness towards her bewildered boss. But does she really need the money? She meets a guy at a techno club (with oddly few customers) and decides he must be her boyfriend, and further develops an obsession with owning a horse she saw in a nearby field.

Not all of these crises and episodes necessarily correspond to a three-dimensional human being whose emotional reality we can engage with. Amanda is more of an imaginary figure with the anxiety of Gen Z and also the anomie of ’90s Gen X, a character whose dramatic existence is set in the vivid dialogue she exchanges with other alienated characters. . Amanda and her story are no less fun for being so contrived.

It’s a film that maintains its own very elegant and confident language, and I liked Amanda’s delicate relationship with her older sister Marina – in fact, this film comes closest to a recognizable human relationship. It seems Marina watched the incident of Amanda nearly drowning in the pool with carelessness, but isn’t particularly guilty. She now has a little girl called Stella who seems to have that quirk that Amanda should have outgrown. It is a film of style and surface, and these are intelligently created and maintained.

Amanda is screened at the Venice Film Festival.

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