At the Tribeca Film Festival, the actors from the Italian film “Human Capital” and the American movie “Life Partners” nearly collided over the weekend on the red carpet at the SVA Theater when their movies were screened at the same time.
Paparazzi catnip and former “Gossip Girl” star Leighton Meester made a flyby before her 8 p.m. Broadway curtain for “Of Mice and Men.” She stars in “Life Partners” but moved quickly on the red carpet. She posed but didn’t speak to reporters except for interviewers from the Producers Guild, whom she accurately assumed would not ask questions about her recent marriage to Adam Brody.
Also at the “Life Partners” premiere were friendly and talkative co-stars Gabby Sidibe and Gillian Jacobs.
But the Italian videographer standing next to me could have cared less about Leighton Meester. He didn’t know who she was. He was only interested in the director and cast of the class drama “Human Capital,” which had its North American premiere at Tribeca and has been hugely popular in Rome.
The film is my favorite so far at the festival. It is a beautifully edited and executed study of the intersection of family, class and passion in Italian society. Told in a nonlinear fashion, it’s a thriller that begins with the hit and run accident of a cyclist driven by someone in a large, pricey SUV. The audience finds out the identity of the driver only at the end of the film. In legal terms, the value of a human’s life is called human capital in Italy. Meanwhile viewers meet a cross section of Italian society consumed by greed, desire and addiction.
“Human Capital” stars Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi and Valeria Golina, who walked the red carpet, chatted and gestured to the Italian camera crews and bypassed the “Life Partners” stars by minutes.
“Human Capital” director Paolo Virzi makes a strong political statement, and reviews often refer to him as “the lefty director.” How does he feel about being described that way?
“I care, but I like also to tell stories,” Virzi told me in a heavy and dramatic Italian accent. “The beauty of my work is to hide the meanings in a plot. I’m a storyteller basically, so I like that the smartest guy of the audience pick up the issues inside the movie.”
The film is rich in images and details, including a movie still from a Truffaut film and a poster from the American film “Boys Don’t Cry.” Is there a special meaning in this?
“I used to do this also in other movies,” Virzi told me. “I like to make an homage. I like to put some movie I love into the set decoration.”
As for the film’s political message, the director told me, “The movie tells all the consequences of the crisis of the falling of a model of a system of wealth, of richness that probably doesn’t work anymore. And at the end of the story we probably feel the desire to turn the page and to start with a new world.”
The film was shot in Como, not far from George Clooney’s villa. Did he ever run into the “Oceans 11” star?
“No,” Virzi laughed. “I would like to work with him. He’s a nice man.”
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