Lacci – Tied Up Italians

REVIEW
by Naya Guseva
02.03.2021
Along with February, the XII festival From Venice to Moscow by the Italian Institute of Culture came to an end. The cinephiles watched auteurs, political and experimental cinema for four days; the opener was a marriage-in-crisis drama Lacci (2020) set in Naples and Rome over a long period starting in the 1980s.
The viewer has no chance to prepare for the emotional turmoil from the very beginning — amidst the dancing at a children's party between Aldo and Wanda, the tension is already palpable. As it turns out afterwards, the husband has cheated on his wife, and in good faith has decided to confess to it. He did it without thinking about how his wife would react but hoping that she would understand. But something happens. We don't know what mysterious promise lovers have made to each other, but they stay together because of it. Despite the affair, the children's resentment and the broken trust.

Lacci is truly national. Perhaps no one other than the Italians can so sensitively and humanely convey the relationship between people whose love will continue but will never be the same.

One of the elements of traditional Italian theatre is lazzi – improvised comic scenes that do not affect the development of the plot. Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd and other classics of silent comedy used them. But Lacci is not a comedy at all. It's a drawn-out drama, based on a genuinely comic adultery scene which, as we later learn, has no bearing on the further course of events. The characters cannot divorce: too many strings bind them together and force them to see each other constantly, to communicate, to be near each other even when love is no longer there.

The main "family knot", which prevents the couple from separating once and for all, is the children. They grow up watching all their quarrels and attempts to find a compromise in upbringing. The constant fights between mum and dad and between Naples and Rome naturally affect children's psyche, each of whom strives to choose their side in the adult conflict.
Things get so tangled up that the bond begins to stifle and unpleasantly bind. It is no longer a deeply spiritual bond but an attempt to hurt each other and keep each other around, simply because it is the right thing to do.
Unfortunately, none of the motives gets developed. The director Daniele Lucchetti fails to create a realistic drama, even with all the twists and turns he uses. The suicide attempts, breaking glasses and throwing radios out of the window in a rhapsodic, screaming at children and other staged abuses don't help.
Perhaps that is the beauty of Italian cinema. It's a bit theatrical, overly emotional and infinitely deep. If a little more attention had been paid to the characters' psychology, their view of the situation and their direct involvement in the plot, the picture would have taken on entirely different colours. But then it would not have been the Lacci, which people who have forgiven through love cannot understand.
 
Lacci – Tied Up Italians
REVIEW
by Naya Guseva
02.03.2021
Along with February, the XII festival From Venice to Moscow by the Italian Institute of Culture came to an end. The cinephiles watched auteurs, political and experimental cinema for four days; the opener was a marriage-in-crisis drama Lacci (2020) set in Naples and Rome over a long period starting in the 1980s.
The viewer has no chance to prepare for the emotional turmoil from the very beginning — amidst the dancing at a children's party between Aldo and Wanda, the tension is already palpable. As it turns out afterwards, the husband has cheated on his wife, and in good faith has decided to confess to it. He did it without thinking about how his wife would react but hoping that she would understand. But something happens. We don't know what mysterious promise lovers have made to each other, but they stay together because of it. Despite the affair, the children's resentment and the broken trust.

Lacci is truly national. Perhaps no one other than the Italians can so sensitively and humanely convey the relationship between people whose love will continue but will never be the same.

One of the elements of traditional Italian theatre is lazzi – improvised comic scenes that do not affect the development of the plot. Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd and other classics of silent comedy used them. But Lacci is not a comedy at all. It's a drawn-out drama, based on a genuinely comic adultery scene which, as we later learn, has no bearing on the further course of events. The characters cannot divorce: too many strings bind them together and force them to see each other constantly, to communicate, to be near each other even when love is no longer there.

The main "family knot", which prevents the couple from separating once and for all, is the children. They grow up watching all their quarrels and attempts to find a compromise in upbringing. The constant fights between mum and dad and between Naples and Rome naturally affect children's psyche, each of whom strives to choose their side in the adult conflict.
Things get so tangled up that the bond begins to stifle and unpleasantly bind. It is no longer a deeply spiritual bond but an attempt to hurt each other and keep each other around, simply because it is the right thing to do.

Unfortunately, none of the motives gets developed. The director Daniele Lucchetti fails to create a realistic drama, even with all the twists and turns he uses. The suicide attempts, breaking glasses and throwing radios out of the window in a rhapsodic, screaming at children and other staged abuses don't help.
Perhaps that is the beauty of Italian cinema. It's a bit theatrical, overly emotional and infinitely deep. If a little more attention had been paid to the characters' psychology, their view of the situation and their direct involvement in the plot, the picture would have taken on entirely different colours. But then it would not have been the Lacci, which people who have forgiven through love cannot understand.
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