Indiewire has a quote (from a Reuters article) from filmmaking legend Bernardo Bertolucci today on his current preference for TV over movies: “[T]he American films I like now do not come from Hollywood studios but from television series, like ‘Mad Men,’ ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘The Americans.’ I like when they last 13 episodes but then there is a new series coming with another 13 episodes.”
Despite the fact that I’m watching more movies than television series right now, it’s hard to disagree. And surely, hearing that opinion from the director “The Conformist” and “Last Tango in Paris” is pretty meaningful.
The piece reminded me of Bertolucci’s most recent film, “Me and You” (“Io e Te”), which I had the pleasure of seeing at the Toronto International Film Festival last September. Whether to see the film or not had been a tough choice — looking back at my notes, I see it was playing at the same time as “Frances Ha” and “Like Someone in Love.” Considering I’ve now seen “Frances” and “Like Someone,” but “Me and You” has yet to see release in America, I’m satisfied with my decision. The Playlist recently posted the film’s lovely trailer, but pointed out that while it is set for U.K. release, it has no stateside distribution deal. “Me and You” is an intimate, occasionally claustrophobic film that would work nicely as a VOD release. (Oddly, Bertolucci initially intended to shoot it in 3D.) Hopefully, a studio will step up and bring the film to the States soon.
The critical response from TIFF (and, before that, Cannes) was mostly negative, which I guess puts me in the minority. Covering the fest for Buffalo Spree, I called “Me and You” “a wonderfully incisive look at adolescence,” and I stand by that belief. The performances from young star Jacopo Olmo Antinori as unkempt, perennially headphones-wearing teenager Lorenzo, and Tea Falco as his drug-addicted half-sister, Olivia, are note-perfect. The soundtrack is rather wild for Bertolucci, featuring the Arcade Fire, the Cure, and Muse. And the cinematography by Fabio Cianchetti, who also shot “The Dreamers” and “Beseiged,” is extraordinary. Yes, it is certainly “slight” when compared with some of Bertolucci’s other epics, and does not quite hit the highs of his previous effort, “The Dreamers,” but it is still a worthy addition to his canon.