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REVIEW: Reality


Big Brother is watching...


In the 21st Century, films like Catfish, Social Network and Hard Candy delve in to the somewhat darker elements of online mingling. They remind the public why they should be wary of certain sites, the risks surrounding meets with complete strangers, and the material that is thoughtlessly placed on the web.

But there are other modern social issues that cinema should look at too. Like people's desperation for five minutes of fame, the lengths they go to for attention, their ability to get laid under a dining table (not giving any names). We're talking about the Big Brother generation.

Boys and gentlemen, I bring you Reality: a fascinating Italian drama that delves in to the darker side of our thirst for celebrity-status. Directed and written by Matteo Garrone, within five-minutes we are introduced to our protagonist Luciano, a fishmonger, dragged-up and faux-flirting with Enzo, a former housemate, at a wedding (sorry guys, no homoerotica here).

Reality is a comedy, but one with dark undertones. Set in the idyllic Italian city Naples, the film engages in one hand with reality (naturally) and in the other an individual’s perspective of his own reality. With footage running for maybe half-an-hour more than it could, Garrone intimately highlights one man’s experience encompassing the Big Brother hype, and how it is unconsciously infective more widely than within a community.

Luciano’s journey is triggered by his kids’ adoration for Enzo and fantasy of their dad with a celebrity status. Not letting too much slide, as time progresses towards the start of the show, following interviews with the producers, Luciano becomes more confident of his place in the house. This is fuelled by his family and friends’ idealistic optimism.

The subject matter is innovative and captivating, and reaches to the protagonist’s eventual rapturous existence where Grande Fratello is held as a glittering beacon of not only fame, but Reality.

Winning the Grande Prix award at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, Reality is more than worthy of a watch (released on March 22), if only for the beautiful portrait of Italy (among the inevitable extravagance and amplitude of its people- ask to turn the speakers down a tad) that Garrone successfully constructs.

REALITY will be released through Independent Distribution and Fandango Portobello on 22 March 2013.

Words: Jack Pearson

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