Cannes Film Fest 2018: Euphoria, Valeria Golino’s Sophomore Jinx–Melodrma around Gay Businessman

The second feature of Valeria Golino (still beter known as an actress) may not be a sophomore jinx, but it certainly is a disappointing film, due to the retro (in the negative sense of the term) and old-fashioned representation of gay life in Italy.

Riccardo Scamarcio plays Matteo, a rich, elegant gay businessman who decides to conceal his brother’s cancer diagnosis–for no apparent reason.

The film is a step down for Golino, whose directorial debut, Miele, was more mature and subtle work, than Euphoria, due to major shortcomings in the writing department.

In the first sequences, We observe a “routine” day in Matteo’s life: playing with sexy guy (dancer Angelo Recchia), offering a campaign to the Church to allow a Japanese beauty company to restore Andrea del Sarto painting, devising a shady scheme to make quick, dishonest profits out of African charity, and so on.

Things get a bit more interesting, when his brother Ettore (Valerio Mastandrea)       a modest school-teacher is diagnosed with brain cancer.  Matteo tells Ettore, their mother (Marzia Ubaldi), and Ettore’s estranged wife Michela (Isabella Ferrari) that it’s just a minor problem, a cyst that can be cured

It’s unclear why the family and Ettore trust Matteo as reliable source of information and accept his judgment uncritically.  Matteo, self-centered and living luxurious life, projects strong sense of authority and control, and claims to really love his brother.

Nothing is credible in this throw away tale, the product of too many writers, and lacking dramatic focus, juggling rom one family interaction to another, and composed of one dimensional and stereotypical characters, all familiar from other family melodrama, on both the big and small screen.

Take Luca (Andrea Germani), who is described as his “lady-in-waiting,” and Tatiana (Valentina Cervi) as the your typical fag-hag.

Most of the actors do their jobs decently, especially Jasmine Trinca, as Elena, as Ettore’s love interest, a sensitive and intelligent femme.

Credits

Directed by Valeria Golino

Cast:

Riccardo Scamarcio, Valerio Mastandrea, Isabella Ferrari, Valentina Cervi, Jasmine Trinca, Andrea Germani, Marzia Ubaldi, Angelo Recchia.

Running time: 113 minutes

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