Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Francesco Munzi's The Rest of the Night (2008)

Portraits from Francesco Munzi's The Rest of the Night (2008) of unheard voices:

Maria is Romanian and a maid. She's accused by her mistress, not directly, of stealing her pair of pearl earrings. While serving dinner, the master asks Maria has she seen them. A look of guilt or fear from the accusation appears on Maria's soft face. She is terminated. Maria later reveals in the palm of her hand the pearl earrings, and she freely admits to have taken them. Whether she took them after the accusation or before is entirely unknown. Unable to find work, she goes back home into the arms of a old lover, where she is met with both contempt and warmth. Maria hurt the one she might have or might have not loved before, but he welcomes her again. Maria will not have a stable home.


To the best of my knowledge, her name is never spoken or acknowledged within the film. Silvana is wealthy. And alone. She attends a self-help lecture at the beginning where the lecturer asks his audience to abandon the Western world's fixation on material wealth and surrender. Silvana is accosted by gypsy children on the way home. Her husband acknowledges her when she is speaking by responding with speaking of his own. He doesn't listen. Her husband has someone else. Her teenage daughter has someone else. Silvana has no one. The people who she loves around her hurt her, and Silvana hurts the ones around her who she does not love.


To the best of my knowledge, his name is never spoken or acknowledged within the film. Marco is an addict at the height of his addiction and near the lowest part of his life. He lives with his mother and is resentful that he is under judicial supervision. Marco has a very young son, Luca, who lives with his mother and her new man, Ahmed. Marco is angry that his son has taking a liking to his mother's new man, so Marco takes Luca. Marco could have Luca without taking him but he feels as if he needs Luca to get out from under the eye of the court. Marco is a thief and doesn't think that anyone cares about him. Marco has long abandoned any love that he once might have had for himself.


Ionut is Romanian and a thief. He lives in squalor with his younger brother with hopes that his earnings will allow them a better place. His mother recently died. His heart was recently broken. Ionut is tired. A woman that he once loved comes back into his life, and the day-to-day sadness is lifted. Ionut is energized, but his new energy makes him move hastily. The patience for a better life diminishes, as he is willing to risk everything for a heist. The risk will be highly successful if Ionut is successful or shattering if Ionut fails. Ionut has the biggest and most trusting heart.


Victor is Romanian and alone. He alternates between feeling a burden, ignored, and an outsider. He's quiet and loves his brother more than anyone in the world. If he has to sleep on the couch, then he will sleep on the couch. If his brother asks him to go out into the cold for an hour, then Victor will go out into the cold for an hour. Victor will follow his brother into a better life or a worse one as long as he is with his brother. In the end, Victor is a Romanian and he might not be alone.


Aaron said...

Another great review, Hans. Well I wouldn't necessarily call this a review per se but the vagueness of it actually has me interested in finding out more info about the movie. Good stuff as always.

Neil Fulwood said...

Very elliptical. I like the structure of the piece, almost a series of prose poems on the characters.

So many reviews - plenty of mine included! - determinedly focus on whether a film's good or bad, where it works or where it fails.

This gives me a hint. A flavour. Makes me want to discover the film for myself.

You're doing something interesting with this blog, Hans. Keep up the good work!

Hans A. said...

Gentlemen, thank you so much.

As you can probably tell, although I very much love reading well-researched and traditional film criticism, I don't have a lot of patience to write those types of reviews. I'm a lot more interested in reading subjective opinions and especially writing them. I expect my reviews to become a lot more experimental with fewer traditional ones. Thnx so much again, gents, I always appreciate your words.

Mr.LargePackage said...

I like the direction your blogs are headed, Hans. This one was very interesting. On a side note, be sure to come to my conference in Jackson entitled "Mr. LargePackage saves the world from Western Materialism". There is only a small admission fee of $500, and that is large in charge.