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After the War (Dopo la guerra) - Rounding up the Usual Suspects
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steve98052
steve98052
After the War (Dopo la guerra)
SIFF's capsule summary: "An Italian insurgent living with his teenaged daughter in France discovers that he no longer has political asylum, and the family he left behind in Italy are forced to answer for his past sins, in this captivating drama illustrating the unintended fallout that can come from radical idealism.
    'This is a provocative, tautly paced directorial debut, with a whopper of a lead performance.' Andrew Wright – The Stranger" (France, 2017, 92 minutes)
SIFF link: After the War

In 1985, after a wave of political in Italy, French President François Mitterrand granted asylum to Italian terrorists who renounced violence, under the "Mitterrand doctrine. In 2002, a subsequent French prime minister reversed the Mitterrand doctrine, and suddenly the Italian terrorists were fugitives that France would extradite if they found them.

Marco Lamberti (Giuseppe Battiston) was one of the Italian terrorists, and fled to France after murdering a judge. There he met a French woman and had a daughter, Viola (Charlotte Cétaire). What happened to Viola's mother and maternal relatives? I don't know. Marco pulled Viola out of her ordinary high school life, into hiding in a cabin in the woods. There he awaited the fake documents they'd need to flee to Nicaragua. Marco is unrepentant about his murderous past, intent on escaping justice, indifferent to Viola's needs, and generally a jerk. Viola, understandably, just wants to remain in France as an ordinary French teenager; she doesn't want to go to Central America, and doesn't want to go to the Italian relatives she's never met. She doesn't even speak Italian (and presumably not Spanish either). Will Marco get his fake papers before the police catch up with him, or face justice for his crimes?

5 Fair The story, by Delphine Agut and director Annarita Zambrano, portrays the unsympathetic Marco as the main character, and seems to sympathize with his terrorist ideology. Viola is presented as a complication to Marco's plans more than as a central character; the story would have been better if she had been at the center, dealing with a life thrown into chaos by her father's past crimes. As written, it's merely fair. The ending feels like a shortcut to a conclusion. The directing is good, however.

Battiston is very good as the film's central character; his performance rises above the material. Cétaire is good, but she seems to have more talent than the film allows her to express. The Italian relatives range from fair to good, possibly also held back by the material.

Overall, I rate the film fair.

My wife "J" and I agreed that the best thing about the film was just looking at Charlotte Cétaire.

Languages: Italian and French, with English subtitles.

Rating: I don't think this film has a US rating (yet), but I'd guess it would rate a "PG-13", unless something slipped past my notice.

Screening: noon, Pacific Place (room 4).
Audience: a typical SIFF press screening crowd, around 100, about 285 seats (estimated capacity).

Snacks: none.

Ads and announcements: no ads at press screenings; SIFF volunteer "J" provided announcements.

Notes to myself:

SIFF statistics: 13 films (all features), 1 unofficial party.

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