Saturday, 6 February 2016


I went to the pictures this week, to a matinee performance; it seemed a good way to deal with the miserable weather that we have been sunk in for what feels like months. What an indulgence it feels to be sitting in a darkened cinema in the daylight hours! The film was, 'Youth' by the Italian director Paolo Sorrentino. I have always been a soft touch for Italian films and although all the main characters in this production were American and British the underlying quality of the film remained essentially Italian. 
The story is of two long-term friends visiting a Swiss sanatorium for a health check and reviewing their lives, talking of what they remember and what they have already forgotten. It is a quiet, reflective film, a piece of work in a minor key. There are some beautiful images, artfully arranged; those in a steam room looking like a de la Tour painting and, viewed on a large screen, a sequence in a flooded St Mark's Square that was simply stunning.
Jane Fonda puts in a cameo performance with a fine show of vitriol followed by regret.
It's a very gentle film overall and rather sad, which seems to be the flavour of things at the moment.  Donna Baker said of my book choice, "is that all there is?" and she could well have the same comment to make about this film. But I enjoyed it.
There are few examples of youth in the film, but one is the New Yorker, Paul Dano, currently receiving a lot of attention for his portrayal of Pierre in the BBC production of 'War and Peace' which comes to an end tomorrow night. I haven't read the book for many years but this production is tempting me to do so. 


  1. I saw that this film was at a local theatre but I decided against it because it seemed so sad. I guess sometimes we need a little melancholy to help us to appreciate the happy times. War and Peace. I can't wait til that comes to American tv. Lately I'm just nuts about "The Knick." I was so sad when it ended. Have they shown that in the UK?

  2. I think the general mood of the film is reflective rather than overall sad. I haven't heard of, 'The Knick' but no doubt it will arrive in Blighty in due course.

  3. This film is at a theater near me, and I've been wondering about it. Thanks for your review.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.