Italy I 2008 I 93 mins I col I dir by Anna Negri with Alba Rohrwacher, Marco Foschi, Valentina Lodovini, Alessandro Averone, Marina Rocco, Cristina Odasso, Francesca Cutolo, Massimo De Santis, Giulia Weber, Hossein Taheri, Stefano Fresi I cert. tbc I in Italian with English subtitles

A fresh voice emerges from Italian cinema in the person of Anna Negri with her new film Riprendimi, which features the best young Italian actors working today. Shot on location in Rome, it is the all-too-familiar story of a couple breaking up and the effect it has on the lives of those around them. In Negri’s account, a documentary team sets out to capture the effect that an “actor’s life,” and in turn the inherent financial stress, has on “the perfect couple.”

What these documentarians don’t expect is to stumble headlong into a situation fret with the turmoil of a modern-day life crisis. Alternately emotional and funny, these characters’ plights, we soon realize, are universal. A comic tension is created by pitting the analytical intentions of the filmmakers against their desire to get involved in the messy, raw lives of the protagonists. Girlfriends bond with girlfriends, the boys enable each other’s bad-boy behavior, and the filmmakers find themselves in the middle and over their heads.

Riprendimi is a sweet confection that is as much fun to look at as to ingest. What is unique is the clever way Negri slyly plays with the conventions of filmmaking by weaving together sassy, naturalistic dialogue; close-up vérité style; and the time-honored film-within-a-film device.

Venue: Italian Cultural Institute in London