Saturday, March 14, 2015

FADING GIGOLO

Woody Allen, John Turturro.
Vanessa Paradis, Liev Schreiber,
Sofia Vergara, Sharon Stone

"The Oldest Profession
Just Got Older"


I may be one among a very few fans left of Woody Allen. What can I  say? The guy is an esteemed iconic figure in the film industry so despite his alleged personal family troubles, I still respect him for his wide body of work, both as an actor but more so as a director.

So I make it a point to see every single one of his movies. In "Fading Gigolo" he portrays a bankrupt business owner named Murray who is forced to close his book store and out of the blue he decides to be a 'pimp'.  He commissions his friend, Fioravante (John Turturro), a local florist to become a gigolo. In short, a male prostitute. He is a success even though Fioravante has feelings of guilt each time he accepts payment for his services.

It has to be mentioned that John Turturro wrote and directed this film which unfolds in the enclave of the Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn, New York. Vis a vis with the gigolo premise, another story unveils too in the form of Avigal (Vanessa Paradis in a off beat role) a Hasidic Rabbi's widow with 6 children.  Living mostly a sheltered life with many restrictions, she is mostly lonely until Murray convinces her to go for a massage session with Fioravante. Understandably, this awakens her inner spirit and she feels reborn albeit must still conform to the strict dictates of her faith.

There are many layers in this far fetched yet humorous spectacle. But Turturro manages to blend them all together with the help of an unexpected line up of actors cast in unconventional roles. He pays homage to Woody Allen's screen work in terms of dialogue, tone and atmosphere, even down to the musical score of mostly jazz tunes. He probably wrote the entire film with Allen in mind and I'd say he did a good job even though it strives on a preposterous plot which nobody would take seriously yet it kept me entertained and quite amused.

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