Human Capital: Italy’s Oscar Entry is Timely Tale of Desire and Greed

Human Capital, Italy’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film, presents an intriguing, timely chronicle of desire and greed, focusing on the value of human life in an age that’s defined by rampant capitalism and financial manipulation.

The tale unfolding on screen actually begins at the end of the plot, as a cyclist is run off the road by a careening SUV the night before Christmas Eve.  Is is a random accident or calculated crime?

The story then reconstructs the events leading up to the accident, through the lives of the wealthy members of the Bernaschi family.  Privileged and detached, they encounter the Ossolas, who are struggling to keep their comfortable middle-class life, in ways neither could have expected.

Dino Ossola (Fabrizio Bentivoglio), in dire financial straits, anticipates the birth of twins with his second wife (Valeria Golino). Meanwhile, Dino’s teenage daughter’s relationship with hedge-fund manager Giovanni Bernaschi’s playboy son complicates an already tricky social dance of status, money and ambition.

Paolo Virzì’s taut character study is an original, deconstructive account, which observes transformative events from each character’s perspective.