Dreams From Strangers (2015)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB

Original title:  Non Accettare I Sogni Dagli Sconociuti

Alternate title:  Don’t Accept Dreams From Strangers, Water Boys

Italy, 2015.  Screenplay by Roberto Cuzzillo.  Cinematography by .  Produced by Roberto Cuzzillo.  Music by .  Film Editing by Roberto Cuzzillo, .

Massimo spends his days perfecting his diving skills, excited when his next competition takes him to Russia.  Once there he meets interpreter Vladimir and the two immediately light a spark that turns very quickly to a love affair that, in Putin’s explicitly anti-gay nation, means as much danger for them as it does elation.  This private film rarely considers anything outside its two main characters, an attempt to make an Italian Weekend, but its slack direction includes long, slow takes of Massimo swimming in vast bodies of water that contribute no atmospheric resonance to what is already a painful lack of chemistry between the two poorly achieved performances.  There’s also very little about the competition itself, the film’s goals of highlighting the injustices of homophobia painfully unsubtle given that the story’s excuse for placing its main character in its setting is barely explored.  Then it gets mawkish when you get to the impromptu guitar solo, a corny moment in a film that is dramatically flaccid when it isn’t unnecessarily preachy.  Its only moments of impressive power happen in the compilation of viral YouTube clips showcasing the homophobic violence that Russia has been plagued by in the last couple of years.  The inclusion of a violent scene in a similar vein in the actual film fails to put the finishing touch on this  experience that suffers from a lack of irony and depth.

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