Review: Darker than Midnight

– by Cesilia Faustina

darker thn midnight posterThis 2014 film was debuted in the Lavazza Italian Film Festival 2014 – held in Perth from mid-September till late October. Directed by Italian director, Sebastian Riso, the piece tells the life story of famous Roman drag queen Davide Cordova – AKA Fusia – and his childhood in Sicily. The story revolves around Davide’s early adolescence and his struggles after running away from home. Being a constant embarrassment towards his father – while his mother is helpless to defend him – Davide decides to run away from home only to form a friendship with transvestite hustler Rettore. His journey progresses only to face some difficult turns in life.

The film started with an interesting sneak peek of Davide’s androgynous side – which created curiosity of where it was heading – continued by various scenes of him with his family. The flow of the film continued with one-cut shots that are left unconnected – this has created a mind-crunching effect of where the movie is headed towards. In seeing the piece, I was definitely left thinking about where the shots connect to each other and whether this was past, present, or future. The play with timeline definitely made things more interesting, forcing you to use your brain for most of the scenes. The uses of the one-off shots were played nicely for the flow of the whole film.

The piece in itself may have come off a little confusing however – with different time frames involved – such as I could never really tell whether one scene would be the future outcome of another scene from the past or the other way around – the scene actually being a part of the past and the other being the future. The role of the mother being visually impaired also did not come across as very well played out, seeing as how it was difficult to understand that she had sight problems till the middle of the movie. Some parts may have not been well represented as much and certain scenes – such as Retore’s disappearance – have been left untold.

Overall however, the flow of the film was structured very well and was something that grabbed your attention. How it was based on a true story has also made it more personal and relatable towards the audience. It represented more than just a series of well-put shots; rather it represented society for the androgynous community at the time and the hardships faced in everyday life. It is not only a story relating towards the gay and transgender community, but also relating towards anybody who sees it – filled with embarrassment, happiness, anger, sadness, and depression – something everyone can understand.

It was a well-pieced movie that hands out a thought-provoking view on Davide’s life and life in general, definitely a piece to try out – especially for those that enjoy a little movie drama.


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