Review: The Adventures of Gigi the Law

– This sensitive and sometimes surreal portrayal of a rural policeman (the director’s own uncle) marks the powerful return of Alessandro Comodin

Review: The Adventures of Gigi the Law

After winning the Golden Leopard on the Cineasti del Presente 2019 billboard with Giacomo’s Summer [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, Alessandro Joker returns to the Locarno Film Festival, this time in International Competition, to present his latest feature film, The Adventures of Gigi the Law [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
which is a perfect blend of documentary and drama, tinged with magical realism.

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Always a keen observer of “atypical” characters who live on the fringes of a high-performance, hyper-technological society dominated by cisgender men, Alessandro Comodin turns his gaze to his uncle, a rural policeman who lives in a town in northern Italy (a region where he grew up). the director), in his latest feature film The Adventures of Gigi the Law. In a superhuman effort to examine a very specific community, that of peripheral northern Italy, dominated by a “far niente” attitude that has long since lost its charm, Alessandro Comodin traces the ups and downs of his uncle in a run away taking place almost exclusively in the front seat of his patrol car.

We know almost nothing about Gigi (Luigi Mecchia Pier), aside from what he does for a living. Nothing is told about his private life, although his colleagues insist that he is an inveterate Latin lover. And it is this vagueness, this need to build our own narrative, the mystery that surrounds the main character of the film, that makes the film especially interesting. The director does not seek to deliver an accurate sociological portrait of his uncle, but to introduce us to the daily life of a man who seems to be afloat and creating his own salvific chimeras.

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Gigi lives in an unspecified place, distinguished only by a proudly spoken Friulian dialect (Pasolini seems to echo in the words of the characters) and a landscape that sometimes turns wild, like the protagonist’s garden, which is the only place we see it. , albeit briefly, in their civilizations. A middle-aged police officer who, in true Italian masculine fashion, seems to have lost none of his seductive prowess, Gigi seems to be stuck in the past. Caught between reality and (abundant) fantasy, and with the help of the radio dispatch, Gigi strikes up a long-distance relationship with her new colleague Paola, made up of double meanings and thinly veiled erotic jokes, which soon turns into parody: but Does Paola really exist or is she just a figment of Gigi’s imagination? An endless succession of daily rounds takes place, like soporific rituals, until suddenly a girl takes her own life by throwing herself under a train. This pushes Gigi to plumb the depths of her inner world, looking beyond reality and the (sometimes grotesque) social mask she has created over the years.

Through careful and empathic observation, Comodin manages to transform the reality that surrounded him as a child, and which Gigi perfectly embodies, into a tragic work of poetry. In this light, the girl’s suicide becomes a metaphor for boredom that has been transformed into (comfortable) immobility. Like the little girl on the train tracks, however, Gigi finds comfort in himself by reveling in a bygone romanticism, which means that the “train of life,” his growing awareness of a world that it is much darker than you would like. be, it could suddenly overwhelm him. The final scene where we see him on a bench in a psychiatric hospital and where, for the first time, the policeman reveals something of his inner world, is powerful and moving in this sense.

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Through his uncle, Comodin offers a modest and poetic portrait of a society tragically suffocated by an intrusive and restrictive hegemonic masculinity that prevents us from expressing our fragility in all its revolutionary beauty.

The Adventures of Gigi the Law is a production of the Italian Okta Film, together with the French firm Idéale Audience and the Belgian Michigan Films. Shellac handles international sales.

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(Translated from Italian)

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