Directed by: Egidio Veronesi
Starring: Federico Mazzoli, Francesca Botti, Augusto Gatti, Paolo Lodi, Giorgio Paltrinieri
Egidio Veronesi’s The Duck Hunter (Il cacciatore di anatre) is another of this year’s Twin Rivers Media Arts Festival offerings—and it comes under the heading, I guess, of a “crowd pleaser.” It follows the life of Mario (Federico Mazzoli), though most of it deals with the period in his life just before and during WWII. Mario is a man with dreams, but he’s also a man of no special talent stuck in a small town that practically defines provincial. He has a hard life, but he has—or at least starts out with—friends, a wife and a daughter, not all of whom make it through the film. The story is really a series of fragmented events he’s recalling in his old age. Does it work? Well, yes, in fits and starts. It depends a good deal on what particular vignette the film is depicting. However, I suspect it will appeal to most viewers. It has a sweetness of spirit to it and just the right touch of sentimentality. That said, it has a feeling of sameness about it—like something (or a lot of somethings) you’ve seen before—and I don’t think it will be very memorable in the long run. Even so, it is a singularly gorgeous film to look at. Its bright colors and its sunlit countrysides have an appeal that often transcends questions of narrative.
Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present The Duck Hunter at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 1, at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library). Info: 273-3332, www.ashevillecourtyard.com
In Brief: A sweetly sentimental tale about the life of a dreamer in a small town in Italy, mostly taking place just before and during WWII. It’s small scale and a little on the cliched side, but not without its modest charms—and with unusually striking cinematography that helps make up for its sometimes workmanlike story.