An esteemed filmmaker goes quietly on the lamb after his assistant jokingly makes inappropriate remarks to a woman he thinks is an actress waiting for an audition, implicating the director in a sex-scandal. While hiding out in a small town he has his arm twisted by a local prince into making a film of his daughter's impending wedding.
This film has a lot on its mind about the current state of film-making, not much of it pleasant. Beneath the labyrinthine story levels lies an angry satire of an industry that reduces artistic directors to no more than metaphoric wedding film makers, and a society that rewards death over excellence when considering a person's worth. These are only two of the many themes that expand to fathers and daughters, masculine identity, power games, even the old 'nature of art vs. reality' debate.
Even when baffling with it's magical realism and surrealist touches it's never less than engaging. This is the kind of film that begs you to come back for a 2nd viewing, and you look forward to it.
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Bellocchio's films are so beguiling that one is never sure whether to laugh or take them a little bit serious. And I suspect he would want it that way. Ultimately, his films are beautifully shot, playful narratives with some social and political undertones weaved in for fun. Much like his film 'My Mother's Smile' this film has an intriguing tone that is hard to grasp right away but engaging and well directed; it also stars the same actor - Sergio Castellitto. Hiding out [sort of] in a small town in Sicily a film director gets roped into 'directing' a wedding being held by a local Prince who is marrying off his daughter to someone she does not love. The director falls in love with her and tries to find a way to help her escape her fate. But plot really cannot do justice to a Bellocchio film. Without a doubt this is one of the best of the unseen films of 2008. It is artistic and playful in ways that films were in the sixties and seventies when European cinema had a grip on film buffs everywhere. If you consider yourself an 'art film' fan you should check it out.
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Let me state upfront that I am a huge fan of foreign and indie movies, and I sought out this movie recently from my local library.
"The Wedding Director" (2008 release from Italy; 97 min.) brings the story of Franco Elica (played by Sergio Castellitto), a well-known Italian movie director. As the movie opens, Elica is attending his daughter's wedding. Some time later Elica is off to Italy, where he meets a number of local people, wome of which who recognize him, while others don't He is befriended of sorts by a local guy who shoots weddings for a living and when he asks/begs Elica to help him with an upcoming wedding, Elica agrees. To tell you more might spoil your viewing experience of the movie, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: I cannot understand how anyone could call this a "laugh out loud" movie, as it is neither funny nor even intended to be funny. You can't call it a drama either. Instead, this movie falls somewhere midway between absurdism and magic realism. The DVD jacket comments that the story line is a reflection of the decine of Italian society and politics. You wouldn't know it by simply wachting this movie. I found this movie pretty bewildering. Maybe it is just me, as "The Wedding Director" made an impact upon its initial screening at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. I will let you be the judge of that.