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IL CIELO CADE (SKY IS FALLING, THE)

SYNOPSIS:
In the summer of 1943, two young orphaned girls are taken to Tuscany to stay with their aunt (Isabella Rossellini) and uncle (Jeroen Krabbé), a German Jewish intellectual related to Albert Einstein. After the initial moments of awkwardness, the girls, Penny (Veronica Niccolai) and Baby (Lara Campoli) find a safe place in the arms and the lives of their new guardians - until the violence of the war threatens their idyllic lives.

"This is the kind of foreign film that gets nominated for Academy Awards, and I don't mean that as a compliment. The audience is supposed to feel pampered and soothed by the pretty scenery and famous actors - though Isabella Rossellini and Jeroen Krabbe don't do much acting here: snug in their idyllic Tuscan villa, they're more like the film's charming hosts and sponsors. Most of the emotional weight is carried by the little orphan girls Penny and Baby, whose antics are ruthlessly leant on for pathos, whimsy and nostalgia. Classical piano music scampers while the kids chase each other through sunlit fields - that sort of thing. It's an accepted formula for arthouse pastoral, with the obligatory dimension of tragedy and social significance provided by the fascists and Nazis, who lurk out of sight for most of the time but pop up in an appropriately searing conclusion. If I sound sarcastic it's not because I object to the pastoral form as such - many great films use something similar as a basis - but because the deliberately simplistic narrative, supposedly from a child's point of view, is careless and patronising even on its own terms. The title is derived from an apocalyptic fantasy of Penny's, but her troubled imaginative world is hardly made real for us onscreen: the presence of trauma is smothered beneath a generalised, cosy lyricism. And when the girls and their friends speculate on the mysteries of religion or sex, there's never any doubt how we're meant to respond - with a complacent adult smile."
Jake Wilson


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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

SKY IS FALLING, THE (M)
Il Cielo Cade
(Italy)

CAST: Isabella Rossellini, Jeroen Krabbé, Barbara Enrichi, Gianna Giachetti

DIRECTOR: Andrea Frazzi, Antonio Frazzi

PRODUCER: Carlo M Cucchi, Vittoria Noia

SCRIPT: Lorenza Mazzetti (novel), Suso Cecchi D'Amico

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Franco Di Giacomo

EDITOR: Amedeo Salfa

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Domenico Maseli

MUSIC: Luis Bacalov

RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Palace

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 5, 2001 (Melbourne); May 31, 2001 (Sydney); other states TBA







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