Italy and movies. Home to some of the world’s greatest directors, Italy’s reputation for cinematic talent and experience is celebrated around the world and integral to Italian culture. One of the programmed activities offered by the Cornell in Rome program are weekly movie nights. Every Wednesday at 9:00pm in the lecture hall, students gather together to take a break from studio work and experience a taste of Italian cinema for themselves. This week, there was a screening of Davide Ferrario’s classic romantic comedy, Dopo Mezzanotte, or in English, “After Midnight.”
A film about film, Dopo Mezzanotte is set within the famous Museum of Cinema—La Mole Antonelliana in Turin, Italy. Angela, a brooding fast food waitress, is the protagonist of the tale and it is her frustration with the banality and repetitiveness of her days that ultimately drive her to throw hot, deep fryer oil onto her boss. Suddenly on the run from the law, she takes refuge in the cinema museum, assisted by the charmingly pensive night watchmen, Martino, a familiar face at the restaurant. Over the days of her asylum, Angela falls in love first with the museum and then slowly with Martino. Torn between Martino’s quiet depth and her current car-thief boyfriend’s wild excitement, a chaotic love triangle ensues.
Classically Italian in style, the pacing and composition of the film differentiates it from the one-dimensional, faster paced style that characterizes most American cinema. Equal parts poignant, quirky, and deeply aesthetic, its use of montage and cinematic history ties it to a dialogue far greater than its “romantic-comedy” designation. A beautiful piece, the film left us inspired and ready to take on the end of the week.