This world is getting complicated. We say that based on the recent motion pictures we had the chance to receive in our festival. It is quite hard to understand why this trend of ‘pretending to be something’ instead of just being, is overpowering the actual story. In Dalle parti de Astrid (Around Astrid), Federico Mattioni tried to imagine a parallel world a teenager experiences while struggling to cope with her real life…at least this is what we understood from the plot summary. In reality, the whole idea is highly diluted, making ‘Around Astrid’ a big surprise for us.
The storyline is quite simple: an 18 year old girl leaves her parents’ home and passes trough Rome, a version of Rome she doesn’t recognize. In her wandering, she gets into another dimension that is alive only in her imagination. There she comes in contact with other people that have a major influence over her future development. Even though it sounds appealing, the screened result is not what one would have expected. The ideas are vaguely propagated and it is pretty hard for a regular viewer to understand the whole message Mattioni is trying to send, though it could be appealing for other kind of audiences.
The dialogue is uneven and not at all superficial, being exactly that part of life we expected to see in a motion picture. Also, the long steady shots are forcing the issue here, creating an amateurish effect, but very adequate for the situations we have in front of us. Most of the scenes are elongated to create a certain effect without being annoying for the spectator. From our point of view, without those way too long steady shots, ‘Around Astrid’ would have been an amazing featurette. And here we find the charm of the director, because he managed to think an idea that would stand firmly in every situation (short, featurette or feature) even if it is elongated into a motion picture.
Other things we appreciated in this feature: the transition from black and white to colour, from the subconscious to reality – all the effects were smoothly done and this part of the story is intelligible. Also, the score was good, adequate and uplifted the cinematic potential of this feature.
Fantasy movies are not that simple to make and if you are not experienced enough the flaws could be easily spotted. Federico Mattioni made no mistake with this script, so we are expecting his next movie to prove us he is a talented film director and this one was not the peak of his cinematic creation.