Thursday, June 18, 2015

Colossal Failure of the Modern Relationship at ICFF and NIFF

by Allan Tong

In all my years of reviewing films, I've never come across one movie that played back-to-back festivals in the same region. The Colossal Failure of the Modern Relationship is previewing tonight at the Italian Contemporary Film Festival then screening tomorrow night at the Nigara Integrated Film Festival.

CFMR features an Italian-Canadian cast, and takes place in Niagara wine country, which justifies its appearance at these two very different fests.  [Disclosure: I know Sergio and he once recommended actress Lina Giornofelice for own of my films. Ms. Giornofelice appears in CFMR.]

CFMR is technically a romantic-comedy, but it's more like an Eric Rohmer film, an exploration of relationships and modern manners driven by dialogue with a touch of comedy. The story revolves around dull middle-aged wine writer, Freddy (Remedy's Enrico Colantoni), who takes his long-time lover Cat (Krista Bridges) on a weekend trip to a Niagara winery to revive their tired romance. Because he's on assignment, Freddy's self-absorbed boss, Richard (David Cubitt), and his young girlfriend, Amy (Brooke Palsson) join them. Problem is, Freddy and Amy have no idea that Cat has been sleeping with Richard.

The script is lean and Navarretta's direction is assured. Instead of going purely for laughs, Navarretta takes care to wring genuine dramatic reactions out of his actors which only strengthens the comedy. The four leads deliver, in particular Colantoni who plays Freddy as a nebbish, but likable everyman, and Bridges who adds dimension to his frustrated girlfriend which could have lapsed into cliche. Tony Nappo as a fellow winery visitor is another standout.

The film is well-paced and boasts sweeping shots of Niagara wine country, most likely shot by a drone camera. However, I'm not sure what the overall theme is to unite the fates of the four leads. To me, that's unclear. Overall, though, CFMR is a full-bodied film and goes down well.

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