Friday, April 10, 2015




HUMAN CAPITAL begins at the end, as a cyclist is run off the road by a careening SUV the night before Christmas Eve. As details emerge of the events leading up to the accident, the lives of the well-to-do Bernaschi family, privileged and detached, will intertwine with the Ossolas, struggling to keep their comfortable middle-class life, in ways neither could have expected. Dino Ossola (Fabrizio Bentivoglio), in dire financial straits, anticipates the birth of twins with his second wife (Valeria Golino). Meanwhile, Dino's teenage daughter's relationship with hedge-fund manager Giovanni Bernaschi's playboy son complicates an already tricky social dance of status, money and ambition. Paolo Virzi's taut character study deconstructs the typical linear narrative, observing transformative events from each character's perspective. The result is a nuanced account of desire, greed and the value of human life in an age of rampant capitalism and financial manipulation. (C) Film Movement

From IMDB:

Ratings: 7.4/10 from 4,458 users Metascore: 63/100 

Average Rating: 7/10 |Reviews Counted: 52
Fresh: 42 | Rotten: 10

Critics Consensus: Part character study, part socioeconomic fable, Human Capital offers trenchant commentary as well as absorbing drama.

AUDIENCE SCORE 76% liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5 | User Ratings: 2,110

See that server up there? Yeah, his accidental death is the reason for this movie. 

Reviewing a movie from 2 years ago?....

Yeah. 2013. Remember in yesterday's post where I said I won movie tickets from BFM? Yeah, I won them two days in a row. Lucky me, huh? Anyway, how come an Italian movie from 2013? Well, the contest was apparently done to promote a month long Italian movie festival that was happening on one of our local satellite TV provider Astro's channels, Astro A-list. So yeah, I answered a simple question and won myself a couple of passes to watch a two year old Italian movie at the cinema. Right after I won a pair just the day before. When I picked up my tickets for The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel one of BFM's deejays were there and he said, "So you're the guy that one two tickets." Yeah, I was that guy. I won them both while being stuck in traffic, bored and listening to talk radio. I won a couple of tickets last year from them the same way. Boredom and start-stop traffic does have it's benefits.

This is early in the film and the first time you see middle-class dad. Does he inspire trust and age-earned wisdom with that look? 

Anyway, on to the movie. If you haven't seen it or heard of it, I wouldn't blame you. Foreign language movies are usually watched by fans of those genres or well, language. For the rest of us couch potato movie fans we usually don't hear about them until someone we know starts talking about how good it is and even then we usually nod and say maybe someday we'll get round to watching it, and then don't. I like them just fine and I know that sometimes they're better than what Hollywood churns out but sometimes sifting through the cinema-speak and wading through what the critics and websites say about them trying to figure out if it's really good can be somewhat exasperating. And of course sometimes these foreign movies require you to be in a certain frame of mind to watch them. Find yourself in the wrong one and you might not truly enjoy it.

That's middle-class dad at the bank trying to borrow money he doesn't have to invest in something he can't afford.

Sorry about going off on a tangent there. Anyway, on to the movie. Again. Human Capital or Il Capitale Umano, if you didn't read the summary up there, is about how two families, one rich and one middle-class sort of come to clash when their children manage to get into trouble with the law over an accident. But, prior to the accident things are already starting to get complicated when the middle-class dad invests in rich dad's investment fund and it starts to tank. Add to that the middle-class dad's wife is expecting and the rich dad's wife is feeling empty and neglected and tries to remedy that by restoring an abandoned theatre and while starting up an affair with one of the people on her team of consultants. Also their kids whom they believe are in love actually aren't, the girl wants nothing to do with the boy.

Throughout the entire film I kept thinking I know that lady from some other movie. Turns out she was in Hot Shots. 

Anyway, this was a thoroughly entertaining movie. The interweaving of stories, and you are taken through each of the main characters stories which eventually all tie-up, is beautifully done. And the performances from each of them was very good. The middle-class dad, a real estate agent looking for a big break and willing to do anything for it is beautifully played. The first time you see him he's dressed sloppily but in clothes that should be worn only by someone 10 years younger and when he begins to butter the rich dad it just sounds so desperate and even a little sleazy. His desperation is very palpable. The rich mom was also brilliantly delivered. Her timidity, her poor self esteem really shows through. You feel pity for her but also sometimes just angry at how she seems so pathetic. Those are the main two that really left an impression on me. But the performance by the other cast of their characters were just as good.

Rich mom in a meeting with professionals from the art scene. She fails miserably. 

But the thing that really stands out is how the stories are told and woven together. You watch each of the main characters stories that span about six months leading up to the fateful accident and you learn about what drives each of them and their decisions later on. You learn to understand and appreciate each character. A rare thing these days.

What happens when a married woman who is lonely and feels under appreciated as well as undermined by her husband end up in a room with someone who flatters her past as an actress? In a quiet room alone watching a sexy scene. 

The end though you get an interesting lesson about what the title means. Human capital or Il Capitale Umano is a term used by the Insurance Industry to come to an amount to be paid to families of the deceased. There's a bunch of things that go into it but it all seems a little too simple. And maybe that's what the movie tries to tell you. That for everything that goes into each of our lives until death upon death itself it becomes trivialized. Especially when it comes to what it may be worth. Or maybe something else.

That guy has the shortest appearance but has the most important role. Things in this movie may not have happened without him. 

Anyway, like I said I really did enjoy it. And if you haven't seen it I'm telling you to go watch it. Or get round to it when you can. I'm giving it a 3.5 out of 5.



P.S. They had a lucky draw/raffle at the event and I was one number away from winning the Grand Prize which was TWO TICKETS TO ROME ON QATAR AIRWAYS!! My life and luck sucks sometimes so hard...


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