DIRECTOR: GIANNI DI GREGORIO
CAST: GIANNI DI GREGORIO, GIORGIO COLANGELI, ENNIO FANTASTICHINI
CERTIFICATE TBC; 92 MINUTES; SUBTITLES
CURZON HOME CINEMA; JUNE 12TH
REVIEW by KATHLEEN BONDAR
The citizens of the world in question comprise three older guys from Rome with limited finances and horizons. Fed up with their circumstances they become convinced that their combined pensions could be put to better use in a cheaper country. So, off they go to seek the advice of a knowing friend who runs through the options. After ruling out Cuba, Bulgaria and Bali, he recommends the Azores mainly because this Atlantic archipelago doesn’t have earthquakes or jellyfish and offers a reciprocal pension for Italians. Thus decided the three musketeers focus on selling their most precious belongings only to find their prized assets amount to little on the open market. Faced with the realities of upheaval and uncertainty they begin to reconsider whether staying put might be easier than adventure.
Director Gianni Di Gregorio casts himself perfectly as the retired Latin professor who collects rare books alongside his screen mates, Giorgetto (Giorgio Colangeli) and Attilio (Ennio Fantastichini) as cavalier junk collectors. Gregorio’s gnarled features are softened as a contemplative professore who develops a shy attraction for a signora del bar (Galatea Ranzi). Meanwhile, Giorgetto and Attilio shake things up with entertaining banter mixed with lashings of bravado and bellicose frustration. The insight into the friendship of men who find they are suddenly quite old but feel able, is a treat. There is plenty of old bloke banter: camaraderie mixed with put-downs. The friends wrestle with getting along and getting on each other’s nerves right to the end. All this is bathed in Italian sun and the bustle of city life and local violin music weaving throughout the film.
Citizens of the World is a thought provoking and enjoyable exploration of that universal longing for something better, somewhere else. But, before the film settles for the predictable, Di Gregorio, turns the camera on the plight of Abu (Salih Saadid Khalid), a refuge from Mali who earns a little cash-in-hand helping Attilio shift furniture and so shines a light on another universal trait: simple altruism.