Il cuore grande delle ragazze
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Director and screenplay: Pupi Avati
Editing: Amedeo Salfa
Photography: Pasquale Rachini
Scenery: Giuliano Pannuti
Music: Lucio Dalla
Costumes: Catia Dottori
Duration: 85'
Italy, 2011

Carlino Vigetti: Cesare Cremonini
Francesca Osti: Micaela Ramazzotti
Sisto Osti: Gianni Cavina
Adolfo Vigetti: Andrea Roncato
Eugenia Vigetti: Erika Blanc
Rosalia Osti: Manuela Morabito
Enrichetta Merkbreite: Sydne Rome
Olimpia Osti: Gisella Sofio
Umberto Vigetti: Massimo Bonetti
Maria Osti: Rita Carlini

There are artists who portray the same female face or the same bottle for all of their lives, so why reprimand Avati for having made another film with his usual unmistakable style?  In the wake of two hardly successful films (“Il figlio pił piccolo” and “Una sconfinata giovinezza”), the movie-maker from the Emilia-Romagna region returns to his ancient universe to describe (using fairy-tale tones) events in the lives of his future grandparents.  The film is set in a small town in central Italy during the first half of the 1930s. A proposal is made to the family of farmers named Vigetti by the family of landowners named Osti:  they offer to solve all their economic problems if they can convince their son Carlino to marry one of their daughters – either Maria or Amabile.  The young man, who is certainly not as quick as lightning yet very much loved by the girls in town, accepts their offer since he is dazzled by their offer of buying him a Guzzi motorcycle.  So he begins to visit the Osti home one hour a day for one month’s time:  but when the youngest sister Francesca comes into the picture (who studies in Rome and has just returned to town), all the plans are overturned since she and Carlino fall in love at first sight…
Why is “Il cuore grande delle ragazze” so convincing, to the point of our considering it one of the best results in Avati’s recent filmography?  First and foremost, the tone is very pleasant:  the label that Goffredo Fofi stuck onto Avati, calling him “the Truffaut of small-town Italy” here has a precise sense since the comedy framework assumes some affectionate, subtle and gracefully authorial undertones.  There’s a class difference between the Osti and the Vigetti families; the said injustice is underlined by Avati without rents or excesses.  The scene involving the missed wedding banquet, in all of its cruelty, says it all in an excellent summary.  And finally the characters:  very special care is given to the psychological framework of each one of them.  Therefore the good-natured sex addict Carlino sounds real and plausible (also thanks to the excellent performance by Cesare Cremonini, the former leader of the Lunapop group)  and the lively Francesca possesses a disarming sort of innocence that does not lack sensuality (Michela Ramazzotti is more and more talented).  And even the supporting actors are wonderfully outlined and enhanced in a marvellous way (Andrea Roncato proves to be surprising) by a Maestro who has never lost the humility of a great artisan.

Francesco Troiano