If you are not only in love with Italy as a country but also with its movies, the Italian Film Festival will be just the right thing for you. It is the biggest one in the world outside Italy, presenting various movies in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth as well as Sydney. Magnificent Present is one of the films selected for the audience in Down Under. Even when the Australian Premiere already took place within the festival, there are more screenings in different cinemas.
On the search for a new place to live Pietro, the main character of the movie, finds an old, affordable mansion. He considers himself very lucky as it is way out of his budget. Without hesitation he signs the contract, paying the rent for four months in advance. Everything could be perfect from now on, but strange things are starting to happen. Pietro hears strange noises, strangers are wandering through his rooms and nobody except him is able to see them. After some restless nights he realizes that his mansion is haunted by a vaudevillian troupe from the 1940s. Feeling lonely and struggling with his sexuality as well as with his dream of becoming an actor, Pietro starts to enjoy the company of his strange cohabitants giving him reason for him to agree to solve the mystery of their death therefore starting a journey to discover a dark secret from the 1940′s.
Magnificent Present combines two different worlds: One is represented by the ghosts of the vaudevillian troupe, who never moved on in time, still believing to live in the 1940s. Not knowing that World War II ended a long time ago, they also fear for the life of their relatives. The other one is typified not only by Pietro but also by the environment outside the old walls of the mansion. Pietro as well as the ghosts not only represent their time through their attitude and behavior but also through the way they dress. The clothing of the vaudevillian troupe is kept in black and white as in an old film, while Pietro is dressed in colors. During the movie the different worlds slowly approach each other as do the characters. For example Pietro is taught by the troupe how to present himself confidently during auditions. In return he releases them from their belief that they still live in the 1940s, showing them what has changed since their deaths.
The movie also deals with individualism and with Pietros struggle in the real world. Somehow it seems that the he feels more confident being in company of the ghosts than being in company with real persons. The reason for this might be that they do not judge him whether for being gay nor for being unsuccessful but accept him as he is. Pietro as a character is highly interesting and very well played by Elio Germano.
Although there are scenes in Magnificent Present that are a bit over the edge and just too absurd, the film is special. Behind all those ghost tale there is an actual story hidden. The story of the vaudevillian troupe involves historical events and apart from them becoming ghosts it is not unrealistic.
Magnificent Present was highly honored as it won the prizes for best director, best actor, best supporting actress and the special prize at the Italian Golden Globes this year. It even got the Audience Award at the last Moscow International Film Festival. If you have not grown out of ghost stories you should go and give Magnificent Present the chance to impress you – or else it will haunt you forever.
Review by Hannah Vogel
Palace Norton Street
99 Norton Street, Leichhardt
|Saturday, 6th October||9.15pm|
|Monday, 8th October||6.30pm|
17 Oxford Street, Paddington
|Wednesday, 3th October||9.00pm|
|Thursday, 4th October||1.45pm|
|Monday, 8th October||9.00pm|
Cnr Oxford St & Oatley Rd, Paddington
|Thursday, 4th October||6.00pm|
|Wednesday, 10th October||3.00pm|
To have a look at the other movies that are shown or to find out more about the festival itself visit:
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