Mario Martone’s superbly shot and fantastically composed movie teeters on the sting of one thing particular. And if it doesn’t fairly obtain that, settling in the long run for one thing extra generically crime-oriented, it’s nonetheless superb. Naples seems fantastic right here, though very completely different from the town that Paolo Sorrentino depicted in The Hand of God. A middle-aged man comes again to his dwelling city after 40 years away, arriving on a aircraft from Cairo: that is Felice, performed by the craggily expressive Pierfrancesco Favino. A substantial amount of the movie’s opening motion is simply Felice strolling round, overwhelmed with bittersweet recollections that he can not put into phrases: the streets, the shops, the church buildings, the balconies, the youngsters. (The movie makes use of silent Tremendous 8 flashbacks to make express a few of what he’s remembering.)
Felice makes an emotional go to to his ageing mom, Teresa – a delectably unhappy portrayal from Aurora Quattrocchi – and is offended to see that she has bought the condominium he grew up in and has moved to a dingy ground-floor flat in what he suspects was a ruinous deal. However mom and son are deeply moved to see one another once more and there’s a touching scene when Felice takes her tiny bare physique in his arms and bathes her.
However there’s a hidden wound beneath all this. Felice’s boyhood good friend Oreste (Tommaso Ragno), with whom he indulged in petty crime again within the day, is now a much-feared dead-eyed native mobster, and clearly has one thing to do with Felice leaving his beloved Naples within the first place. Don Luigi, the native priest, performed by Francesco Di Leva, is a passionate campaigner in opposition to Oreste’s murderous gangsterism, and after reacting angrily to Felice’s secular “confession” that he was this infamous determine’s greatest good friend, begins a delicate plan to flush Oreste out. This includes introducing Felice to all his parishioners (thus inciting the gossip that can get again to Oreste) and even encouraging the non-drinking Felice to take somewhat wine.
Nostalgia is tremendously shot, and terrifically acted by Favino. It challenges the concept of “nostalgia” as broadcast within the title: it isn’t merely that nostalgia is delusional, or that the previous wasn’t as nice because it seems when considered via rose-tinted spectacles. It’s that there isn’t a previous and current. Naples then and Naples now are the identical – and for Felice his fears and loves by no means actually went away and even modified that a lot. A robust, deeply felt, precious film.