Occasionally, it is salutary to watch something extraordinary achieved by ordinary people to temporarily forget about the tumultuous world where we live in presently, and Italian filmmaker Cristiano Bortone's third feature film RED LIKE THE SKY is the rightly heartening crowd-pleaser saving its faintly cutesy enactment.
The film is inspired by the true story of Mirco Mencacci (Capriotti),a boy living in a sun-drenched Toscana with his parents in the 70s, whose carefree life is abruptly deprived by an accident and he is afflicted with the irreversible condition of losing his sight (the most egregious renunciation should be meted out to his parents, what kind of a parent would keep a loaded rifle hanging in their home within the reach of a child?),and according to the law, he must be sent to a Catholic school for blind kids.
The most endearing moments are always those with the real blind kids, who play Mirco's fellow schoolmates and among those, there is Felice (a cherubic Gullì),who will become Mirco's best friend. And there is a sighted girl too, Francesca (Maturanza),takes the onus as the guiding light so that they sneak out of the school in one night to listen to a movie in the local cinema and predictably develops a puppy love with Mirco. The leitmotif here is to rebel against the oppressive administration influenced by religious clout, and to embrace life through one's unique talent, for Mirco and co. is to record a fairy tale exclusively through sound and voice, an audio book graced with ingenious recordings of sound effects, that is Mirco's forte and indeed he would become a film sound mixer/editor in the future, working in Fausto Brizzi's NIGHT BEFORE THE EXAMS (2006).
Compared with Bortone's tender circumspection and undivided concentration on the children players, the film's adult wrangle, namely a sage teacher Don Giulio (Sassanelli) versus the hidebound school director (Mozzato) is squarely delivered with rigid harangue deplete of any flair and its broader social milieu is considerably skimped, to say less of its Communist undertone which an Italian might presume is what the title refers to.
A sympathetic piece of Bildungsroman most extraordinarily accomplished by a sensitive leading performance from the assumedly blind actor Luca Capriotti, the film is his only acting credit as yet. Not intending to take any shine off Bortone and his team's scrupulous dedication in coordinating a cast chiefly composed of non-professional blind kids, it is a story has an immanent and affecting strength to be hailed and proselytized universally, a windfall for any visionary raconteur.
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The film is inspired by the true story of Mirco Mencacci, one of the most gifted Italian sound editors working today, who happens to be blind. A small village in Tuscany, 1971. Mirco is a bright, lively 10-year-old, crazy about the movies - especially Westerns and adventure films. His father, an incurable idealist, is a truck driver. One day, while Mirco is playing with an old rifle, the gun accidentally goes off; the boy is shot in the head. He survives, but loses his sight. At that time, Italian law considered blind people hopelessly handicapped, and did not permit them to attend public school. Hence, young Mirco's parents are forced to shut their son up in a "special school for the blind": the David Chiossone Institute in Genoa. In the beginning Mirco does not accept his new condition. But he is feisty and determined. When he finds an old tape recorder and a few used reels and discovers that by cutting and splicing tape he can create little fairy tales made only of sounds, a brand-new world opens up to him. His new adventure is opposed by the religious authorities that run the boarding school, who are convinced that a blind boy is a disabled person who must not be allowed to harbor illusions. But Mirco will not give up. He continues to fight in every way possible, and he slowly involves his classmates, leading them to rediscover their dreams and capacities. Then one night, with the help of the only sighted child - the daughter of the doorkeeper, with whom Mirco shares a tender friendship - he convinces the small group of boys to sneak out of school and go to the cinema down the street. For all of them, the experience is exhilarating. But the consequences are grim. Mirco is expelled. In the meantime, a broader struggle to change society is taking place outside. 1970's political protests are erupting. Students are taking to the streets. During one of his earlier escapades, Mirco had made friends with Ettore, a blind university student with strong political awareness. Hearing that Mirco has been expelled, Ettore pushes the whole city to mobilize. Students and workers protest in front of the Cassone Institute, threatening to shut down the city's blast furnace if Mirco is not re-admitted. As a consequence, the head of the institute is put under investigation. Mirco is finally re-admitted and granted special permission: to change the year-end show. Instead of reciting the usual religious poems, the children put on a performance of their "fairy tale in sound", before an audience of blind-folded, spellbound parents.—Anonymous
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