Saturday, July 26, 2014

IL CAPITALE UMANO
(HUMAN CAPITAL)

MovieMov 4: Italian Cinema Now
Cinema 2, Shang Cineplex




A compelling drama set in contemporary Italy which opens with a night scene of a lone bicyclist being swiped off a road. He is in a coma. We are only shown a SUV but not who was driving and caused the unfortunate accident.

3 chapters follow, each telling different parts of the story before and after the accident from the viewpoint of 3 vital characters. Each chapter offers new information that deepens our understanding of the main characters and how they reacted over the accident. Meanwhile, the victim of the accident remains in the background of these 3 stories.

The first chapter follows Dino whose daughter Serena is dating the son of a rich venture capitalist. Dino owns a small real estate company but then finds himself investing way too much in the 'dubious' often flaky business of the venture capitalist. Basically a social climber, Dino soon finds himself in debt as his initial investment tanks.

The second chapter presents Celia, the lonely trophy wife of the venture capitalist. A former stage actress who has lost her self worth after years of pleasing her imperial husband and looking after their bratty rich son. Valeria Bruni Tedeschi gives a brilliant performance putting a lot of heart into her role.

The final chapter is shown through the eyes of Serena, Dino's daughter. Most revealing of all the chapters, we discover a young sensitive and sensible strong willed girl who is secretly dealing with a far more serious problem. This part of the story weaves together the truth of who drove the SUV and what was her role in covering up the cause of the accident.

All the characters are multi-dimensional as their overlapping stories unfolds with time shifting narrative. Both a contrast as well as a comparison of related tales that shows how people can get so caught up in their own private dramas. They tend to overlook or misinterpret the people around them - especially those who have less power or less clout, whether because of their gender, their class or their age or some combination of the three.

By the way, the human capital is a legal term that refers to the amount that a responsible party pays the family of the victim. A lengthy formula that takes into account the salary the deceased would have earned if he continued working less the expenses that the family incurs without the said 'salary'.  A rather complicated process but the main thing is that the family of the victim is well compensated for their loss.

The film is a cleverly told tale that ends with enough ambiguity for the characters that we the audience are left to form our own conclusions.

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