© Prokino/Studiocanal

Auf Alles, was uns glücklich macht (The Best Years, Gli anni più belli)
Italy 2020

Opening 14 Oct 2021

Directed by: Gabriele Muccino
Writing credits: Gabriele Muccino
Principal actors: Pierfrancesco Favino, Kim Rossi Stuart, Claudio Santamaria, Micaela Ramazzotti, Emma Marrone

“Tempus fugit.” Just ask Giulio (Pierfrancesco Favino), Paolo (Kim Rossi Stuart), Riccardo (Claudio Santamaria), and Gemma (Micaela Ramazzotti) at this juncture in their lives. Nineteen eighty-two seems only yesterday: Giulio (Francesco Centorame) and Paulo (Andrea Pittorino) are dancing mightily, before chancing on and befriending someone in need of help. Lucy brings Gemma (Alma Noce) and Paolo together, Riccardo’s (Matteo De Buono) family habitat embodies summer fun, and a car that at 16 seals the quartet’s lifelong friendship. Global politics, and decades change: 1989 and Germany’s Berlin Wall tumbles; 1990s, and Italy’s criminal scandals soar; September 11, 2001, there are attacks on the USA. Each friend’s circumstances change: Gemma’s aunt takes her to Napoli where she subsequently takes up with Nunzio (Gennaro Apicella); Paolo starts teaching, while Giulio begins practicing law, and Riccardo and Anna (Emma Marrone) marry. Natural passions are tempered by realities – births, parents’ deaths, lost jobs, lost chances, and choices made, for better or worse. They lose touch; somehow, sometimes fate simply intervenes, and they reconnect. On this occasion, and accompanied by offspring (Ilan Muccino, Elisa Visari, Matteo Zanotti), it is the mutual fondness of their shared silence that speaks volumes.

Italian writer-director Gabriele Muccino’s Gli anni più belli is like a love poem to his country, its people, its music. The uncannily well-chosen two-tiered cast (Laura Muccino, Francesco Vedovati, casting) compliment and blend physically and manneristically. Their amazing performances smoothly transform and gel, from awkward adolescents into full-fledged adults. Editor Claudio Di Mauro’s transition is nothing short of stunning in joint effort with director of photography Eloi Molí’s mindful finesse, and prowess—as the camera circles the character, while following the narrative, the individuals mature, wrapped in Nicola Piovani’s emotionally appropriate music. Compellingly told, and wonderfully acted, the nostalgia transcends into a chronicle about the universality of life, friendships, and the effect of time. Particularly, how friends choose directions that can always lead to surprises. Italian/subtitled, 129 minutes (Marinell Haegelin)

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