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Sorrentino’s Perspective on Youth

Paolo Sorrentino deals with the theme of youth in his own, recognizable way; a language not everybody appreciates (or has to).

1 minute

Two friends, Fred Ballinger (Michael Caine) and Mick Boyle (Harvey Keitel), both over 70, spend the long days of their summer holidays in a luxury resort on the Alps, along with the other odd and diverse resort guests.

Paolo Sorrentino deals with the theme of youth in his own, recognizable way; a language not everybody appreciates (or has to).
He does not offer a portrayal of what youth is but he provides us with a perspective on it. It is Fred’s and Mick’s perspective on their own youth, full of confused memories that are out of control, and on the youth of others, particularly of the people around them.

 

Madalina Diana Ghenea as Miss Universe, with Michael Caine as Fred Ballinger and Harvey Keitel as Mick Boyle © 2015 - Fox Searchlight Above: still of Michael Caine © 2015 - Fox Searchlight

Madalina Diana Ghenea as Miss Universe, with Michael Caine as Fred Ballinger and Harvey Keitel as Mick Boyle © 2015 – Fox Searchlight
Above: still of Michael Caine © 2015 – Fox Searchlight

 

Regarding perspectives, there is an interesting line, which Mick (Harvey Keitel) addresses to his young protégé, while looking though a telescope on the Alps:

“You see that mountain over there? Everything seems really close. That’s the future. And now… [flipping the lens  around] everything seems really far away. That’s the past.”

However, Sorrentino has no intention of imposing a message or a unique meaning. Alienating shots are scattered throughout the film, and they are like fleeting ideas that set the pace and diverge from the story.
Therefore, we find several scenes with a strong visual impact, so strong that they are able to shock, even when they have no purpose and build up to nothing at all. Sometimes they are dreams, such as the fascinating scene in the flooded Piazza San Marco, while sometimes they’re real.

 

A show for the guests of the resort © 2015 - Fox Searchlight

A show for the guests of the resort © 2015 – Fox Searchlight

 

Such accumulation leads to the viewer’s disorientation, which, in the end, is still an aesthetic result, as it was in The Great Beauty.

In comparison with Sorrentino’s previous success, Youth‘s plot is more interesting and personal. Fred’s character, for whom music is all he understands, must face his own limits and overcome his apathy. Sorrentino gives us a chance to perceive music as Fred does: it is everywhere, in a candy wrapper, in the sound of the forest and in a cow’s bell, which can be elevated and become a symphony, and therefore art.
In the same way, the awkward bodies of the resort guests become the subjects of marvelously composed shots, thanks to Luca Bigazzi‘s photography.

 

Guests of the resort © 2015 - Fox Searchlight

Guests of the resort © 2015 – Fox Searchlight

 


Youth poster - UberAuraDirector: Paolo Sorrentino
Writer: Paolo Sorrentino

Cast: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano, Alex Macqueen, Jane Fonda, Madalina Diana Ghenea, Gabriella Belisario, Roly Serrano

Year: 2015
Trailer

Francesca Laura is a talented and eclectic writer, she works as a script consultant for a well-known film production house in Italy, while cultivating her passion for literature. She is currently involved in different projects with directors and authors.

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