Yuri Esposito – Venice 70 Biennale College
This is the kind of comedy film that you should await from an emerging and innovative new director like Alessio Fava.
Alessio Fava is a young filmmaker from Turin, Italy. He has already worked in many short films and in the field of advertisement. In 2012 he directed the ironic science fiction short film Project Genesis that gained attention and you can watch it here. Yuri Esposito is his first feature-length film that is produced by Massimiliano Chicco and is one of the three micro-budget films that got the support of first year’s Biennale College – Cinema. Yuri Esposito got its world premiere during the 70th Venice Film Festival.
Yuri (Matteo Lanfranchi) is a 40-year-old man that lives a full and perfect life. He works as art restorer in a church, he has a wife who loves him, he enjoys swimming and he is an expert in static apnea. He only misses one thing: the speed. Due to a rare unknown disease, Yuri does everything in extreme slowness. He walks, speaks and acts at a fifth of the speed of normal people. Every day he must take a vaccine that helps him to live a normal life without further problems. When his wife Lucia (Beatrice Cevolani) announces him that she’s pregnant, everything changes in his immaculate world. He decides to follow an experimental treatment suggested by his doctor and father-in-law Vittorio (Claudio Morganti) that will help him to speed up. Of course every change has its side-effects.
Yuri Esposito is a modern day ironic fable which is well set and evolves precisely and uninterruptedly despite the film duration which lasts just 73 minutes. The story which is based on an idea of Alessio Fava and it is written by Leonardo Staglianò and it appears quite simple: the story of the slowest man on earth. What changes that thought is the beauty in Fava’s manipulation of the story. Behind the focus on Yuri’s life, which is quite precise, he presents the main issue of the film: the relative and destructive relationship between time and speed in our modern day life and how they affect our happiness. Yuri who as a boy dreamed to be an astronaut, hence probably the Yuri Gagarin reference, wants to change and adopt in today’s requirements. His once happy life doesn’t exist anymore. He feels inadequate and especially the fear of the fatherhood forces him to search for a solution.
Matteo Lanfranchi, who has already worked with Fava, is able to undertake an “accurate” performance and he never exaggerates. His role could be easily transformed to something funny and cartoonish. Instead Yuri Esposito never loses his truthfulness. His transformation goes through different stages and speed is only an excuse for the drastic changes of his life. His character follows his new speed and the old romantic and patiently calm Yuri becomes neurotic, cynical and catastrophic. Of course the sense of humor and the comic situations are not missing but they are used as a different approach and not a way to mock the hero. That quite fragile balance between comedy and drama lead to a true sentimental and somehow bittersweet film. The linear narration, despite the initial idea, doesn’t boast of creativity but it is worked nicely and fulfills all the initial expectations for a charming film.
It is quite interesting that Fava and his director of photography Alessandro Dominici decided to move in a palette of cold colors in the film. Their preference to neglect an easily eye-catching vivid picture gives to the final result a nice clear crispy look. Also the director chose aesthetically to bear closer to the documentary. This technique enhances the modern style of the film that feels quite up do date. It is worth mentioning that the film was shot in 24 days mainly in the city of Turin and some nearby suburbs and was prepared with a strict budget that didn’t allow many retakes. That fact alone raises the expectations for Fava’s upcoming films since he can already control and deliver interesting films in such firm restrictions.
Yuri Esposito is the kind of film that you should await from an emerging and innovative new director and Alessio Fava is one of them. It is always necessary to have filmmakers that believe in their dream ideas and succeed to realize them. Like his hero, Alessio Fava has plenty of time to demonstrate his talent and the future looks quite promising.
You can watch Yuri Esposito here