Monday, 27 July 2009


“The magic of first love is our ignorance that it can ever end.” - Benjamin Disraeli

I had a day trip to Brisbane today, so it was an early morning start and then after a full day of meetings and tying up of some loose ends, it was an evening flight back home. It does take it out of one, going up and down on the same day, but at least one is able to sleep in one’s own bed again. The weather in Brisbane was fine and sunny reaching a very pleasant top of 23˚C. The subtropical winter of Brisbane is very mild and explains why many retirees choose to live in the North.

At the weekend we watched a pleasant 2005 Italian comedy directed by Giovanni Veronesi, “Manual of Love”. This is no Oscar-winning movie and it has no pretensions of being particularly intellectual or deep. This, I think, is an advantage and explains why it did so well at the box-office in Italy. It trots along at a good pace, has some endearing characters in it and generally the acting is very good. The plot revolves around four interlocked stories, linked together by the theme of love. The four episodes are titled: Falling in Love; The Crisis; The Betrayal; and The Abandonment. They outline four possible scenarios in a love story and while one could take a very cynical view of such a theme, the director handles the stories sensitively and with good humour.

Linking the stories are modest amounts of narrative, where one of the characters is recording CD tracks of “The Manual of Love”, a self-help book which is referred to throughout the four stories. Once again, this narrative device could prove to be intrusive and disruptive to the flow of the plot, but it is done with restraint and complements the action on the screen. The four phases of love depicted are presented as possibilities, rather than inevitabilities and the viewer is left to fill in some the gaps in quite a gratifying way.

This film apparently did not travel well, even though in Italy it was quite a hit. I think it may have disappointed critics who expected deeper meanings, steamier situations and more drama mixed with the comedy. We found it unpretentious and quite enjoyable. It is a film that is light and amusing with some quite memorable scenes. Rather than belly-laughs, it delivers giggles and there are some poignant moments in it also.

Even though I would not recommend that you go out of your way to find it and watch it at any cost, my advice is that if you come across it, then by all means watch it, and enjoy it as the light-weight, bit of fluff it is. It is of course in Italian with English subtitles, which can put some English speakers off, but we are quite used to subtitles and don’t mind them at all (in fact, we even have them on with some English language films as often the diction and sound recording aren’t the best! Subtitle options are another of the advantages of DVDs).

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like what I want to see right now! Thanks for the review and recommendation Nic!