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September Film Favorites

Reality (2012)


Year: 2012
Director: Matteo Garrone
Country of Origin: Italy
Rating: Not Rated
Time: 115 mins

Matteo Garrone is an emerging Italian filmmaker who won the 2008 Cannes Grand Prix with Gomorrah (2008) and is back with a neo-realistic film that is reminiscent of Federico Fellini called RealityReality showcases not only Italy's but the world's obsession with reality television that has become a form of escapism and an easy route to fame and money. In the opening scene, we are looking down with a bird eyes' view of a little town and eventually narrowed down to a cinderella-like carriage that leads to a wedding, where we meet Luciano, a fishmonger who is obsessed with getting on Il Grande Fratello (Big Brother). Garrone is the fairy godmother who sprinkles his little stardust and puts us under his spell from the very beginning to the end with the accompaniment of the trance-like soundtrack.

With glossy round eyes, we are introduced to Luciano (Aniello Arena), who auditions for Big Brother to please himself along with his family and friends who's been egging him on. After two callbacks and no further notices, he becomes fixated that people are spying on him as an additional procedure to the audition process. Luciano's own perception of  reality starts to alter and unravel from the actualities of his trivial yet content life with his family in Naples. Garrone captivates and continues to glaze our eyes glued to the screen as we witness the wretched and dangerous reality of the obsession of desiring fame and money. In real life, Arena is in jail in Italy but joined the prison theatre company in 2001. Amazingly, he was authorized to leave prison for the duration of filming and to return as soon as it wrapped which he did. For an amateur, Arena's performance will  leave you aching in the corners of your heart as his mind and soul start to disintegrate before your very eyes. Reality is a special gem that is based on the fairytale of dreams and the false expectations of our altered reality.

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