Cover-boy: L’ultima rivoluzione
DIRECTOR: Carmine Amoroso | WRITERS: Carmine Amoroso, Filippo Ascione | CAST: Eduard Gabia, Luca Lionello, Chiara Caselli, Luciana Littizzetto, Francesco Dominedò, Gabriel Spahiu | Italy
Cover-boy: L’ultima rivoluzione is the ungainly and frankly pretentious title of a low budget and much too ambitious film that would have been better off with the title Ioan e Michele, the names of its two main characters. And yet, despite overreaching and the occasional misstep, director Carmine Amoroso does have something to say and his sincerity is never in doubt. This is the story of the friendship forged between two penniless foreigners adrift in Rome. Ioan, a young “economic migrant” from Romania who’s utterly stranded, is given a place to stay by Michele, a melancholy 40-year-old man originally from hardscrabble Abruzzo whose life has been a series of temporary menial jobs punctuated by long stretches of unemployment. Although Michele may have had ulterior sexual motives when he brought Ioan into his apartment, his sense of compassion and genuine decency won’t allow him to take advantage of Ioan’s circumstances. Michele may have nothing to show for his life, but he knows how to cook — it’s the one thing he’s proud of — and he almost lets himself dream about the future Ioan sees for the two of them, opening a small Italian restaurant called Ioan e Michele in Romania in the Danube delta, which Ioan’s father — who was killed in front of him during the Romanian revolution in 1989 — insisted is the most beautiful place on earth. The movie takes a turn about two-thirds of the way in when Ioan is discovered on the street by a photojournalist-turned-fashion photographer who whisks him away to Milan where he (improbably) becomes a cover boy overnight. The photographer, a woman, feels no compunction about taking advantage of Ioan sexually, but it’s her crass exploitation of him — she superimposes a candid nude shot of him onto a photograph she took in Romania during the revolution for use as the signature image for a menswear collection — that repulses him and sends him back to Rome and Michele. Ack. This all sounds worse than it is. There’s actually a pretty good, bittersweet but not sentimental movie in here with sensitive acting by the two leads, Eduard Gabia as Ioan and especially Luca Lionello as Michele.