“Shark Teeth” by director Davide Gentile’s newcomer is a good film that tells a story of “miseducation to life” without formalism and presumptions
In this beginning ofcinematic summer where it is still hard to find many reasons for hope (to go back to filling cinemas, to forget the years where more was produced than what was seen, to look for encouraging signs on the future of our cinema), a Italian debut noteworthy, “Shark Teeth”. No masterpiece, for heaven’s sake (how long has a rookie not given it to us?) but a good movie where the qualities of directing and acting seem to me better than those of the screenplay (although awarded at the Solinas). Especially it seems to me that the young man David Gentileborn in 1985,
has known how to stay away from those charms that his “traineeship” as an advertiser could have left him, often made up of a gratuitous and superficial formalism.
Instead it must be said that faced with a history of “diseducation to life”the one written by Valerio Cilio and Gianluca Leoncini – curious in its premises a little less in its conclusions -, the debutant director has been able to find a not far-fetched measure to tell how a boy on the verge of adolescence must come to terms with the paternal myth and at the same time distance himself from it. At the center of the action, set on the Roman coast in an unidentified summer, is Walter (Tiziano Menichelli) who has to decide how to spend her days while her mother (Virginia Raffaele) works in a restaurant. Almost inevitable that she decides to explore one villa-castle whose profile he saw behind a photo of his father, who we soon discover is dead. An apparently deserted villa and with a huge swimming pool who invites Walter to take advantage of it. The water will reserve him a surprise that he didn’t even imagine, but so did he state of abandonment of the villa is not what it seems, because Carlo (Stefano Rosci), presumed summer guardian of the complex, soon reveals himself.
Which is his true «role» it won’t take long to find out, but that doesn’t stop the younger Walter from accepting the position of his subordinate-adjutant: what fascinates him is being faced with someone who seems very confidentwhich reminds him somehow parental energy and above all he offers him an example of life far removed from his mother’s fears and concerns. Like Pinocchio with Lucignolo, Walter lets himself be brought in by experiences that seem to him consistent with the “advice” that parent’s ghost (Claudio Santamaria) occasionally offers them, starting with: «the more you scare the other, the higher you reach». And looking for a parental figure who can help him consider himself worthy of a father so mythologizedinevitably ends up looking for its way of growth in Carlo and in world of drug dealing in which it gets carried away. And of which he will soon discover the crude rules.
But the film does not choose to stay faithful to a single stylerather mixes fairy tale and drama, teenage comedy and bildungsroman, sometimes defying the limits of credibility (the scene in the meat cold store) sometimes riding adreamy atmosphere (the descent into the basement of the villa-castle), at other times still trying to rightly curb the family melodrama (and with it the risks of over-acting for Virginia Raffaele).
Where the film proves to be less controlled is in the final two or three, with the entrance of a Edoardo Pesce too gigionesque in the role of the “pirate”. The need probably to offer some «mother scene» to the best known actor of the cast and a certain write redundancy ended up treading the (pseudo) epic pedal a little too much, attributing to Pesce the role of a “benign ogre” who ends up clashing with the tone held by the film up to that point, while thehappy ending involving both parents — one in presence and one in spirit — risks instead of distort the realistic tone that had dominated until then. But they are easily forgivable flawsabove all in a newcomer who – for once – did not present himself with the assumptions of the author but with the skill of the professional.
June 4, 2023 (change June 4, 2023 | 8:17 pm)
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