JWR Articles: Film/DVD - Suddenly, Last Winter (Directors: Gustav Hofer, Luca Ragazzi) - January 29, 2009
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Suddenly, Last Winter

Improvvisamente i'inverno scorso

3.5 3.5
79 min.

Reviewed at the 2009 Palm Springs International Film Festival
The politics of love

“The Church cannot be questioned,” opines a senior papal loyalist to (mostly) Luca Ragazzi’s camera and in reply to his partner of eight years, Gustav Hofer’s questions in one of a seemingly endless parade of blindly devoted, light on the facts (“homosexuality can be cured”; “same-sex couples are the dreadful domain of pedophiles”) and chronically bigoted citizenry of the country known for pizza parliaments, spaghetti westerns and linguini-loving Mafiosi. This line is heard between the Vatican-blessed man+woman = children IS natural “Family Day” celebration (May 12, 2007 at the height of legislative debate over a law that would give same-sex unions most of the legal rights already enjoyed by blissfully married couples) and Rome’s Pride Parade (May 17, 2007) where 1,000,000 pasta-loving Friends of Dorothy celebrate themselves and cheer to the passionate (and only lesbian voices in the film) speeches from their leaders.

The queer filmmakers happily turn the camera on themselves and their systemic tormentors as the “DICO” bill works its tortoise-like way through committee, sub-committee (the striking of which being the only major accomplishment) and then summer recess.

A marvellous score (notably the peppy, persuasive woodwind quintet) and saucy narration (Frank Dabell) promised to make this sardonic take on the nervous majority attempting to please every voter and still find favour with the Church a spectacularly adroit pillory of systems versus love.

Unfortunately, the pace couldn’t keep up with the relentless and at times tiresomely shallow pontificating from the politics and inanities of the straights-on-the-street interviews.

The courage of the two filmmakers to let us into their very personal world was wonderfully endearing and a strong message to the naysayers that respect, devotion and honour (and not a few moments of gay capriciousness—Luca’s taking a powder before a BIG public event was a gem of honesty and fun), is most certainly not the exclusive property of breeders. A tighter edit might give this documentary stronger legs and, ironically, make its best points hit their targets more effectively.

Here’s to some semblance of domestic order in all jurisdictions (er, hello there Proposition 8) so that our politicians can better spend their time dealing with issues that affect everyone“not just their perceived notion of establishing morality for fickle subjects. Perhaps the Pope might even take a tranquilizer or two and not impose natural doctrine on “diseased” queers—thousands of whom preach His gospel every Sunday.

Now, having come this far telling their own story, this talented duo should be encouraged to turn their considerable skills to another feature—their devotion to art and truth makes them ideal collaborators on any manner of subjects. JWR

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Directors - Gustav Hofer, Luca Ragazzi
Music - Frank Dabell
Cinematographers - Gustav Hofer, Luca Ragazzi
Narrator - Frank Dabell
Further information, future screening/performance/exhibition dates,
purchase information, production sponsors:
Palm Springs International Film Festival
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