Francesca Muci’s début feature, the ironically named romantic drama “L’amore è imperfetto” [Eng. Title: Love is Imperfect], is a classic case of someone trying hard to make a perfect film. Reason dictates that there never was, and there will never be one; it is in its imperfection that lies the charm. It’s the spectacularly convoluted plot however that’s the leading reason for this film’s ‘imperfection’.
It is the story of Elena (Anna Foglietta), told through two timelines – seven years apart. Younger Elena – a proofreader, meets younger Marco (Giulio Berruti) – a model photographer, and falls in love. Marco wants to have a child, but it’s only after Elena becomes pregnant that she discovers that Marco actually prefers men. They end their relationship, and Elena moves out after leaving the baby in Marco’s care. Elena, thirty five now, meets a much older music producer Ettore (Bruno Wolkowitch) under freak circumstances and falls in love. Meanwhile, a carefree bisexual eighteen year old Adriana (Lorena Cacciatore) also bumps into (the older) Elena and cajoles her into a lesbian fling. There’s also a less explored parallel story happening of Elena’s friend and flatmate Roberta approaching menopause, and going after much younger men. Meanwhile, as if things weren’t complicated enough, Elena ties herself in emotional knots further by revisiting her past, and the daughter she’d completely lost contact with…
The problem with this film is that in trying to be different and yet remain mainstream, it is alienating both the audiences. For starters, having affairs with different sexes simultaneously is a subject rarely seen in Italian cinema – it’s the French who love that kind of stuff, let alone placing the film’s characters in small-town Bari. Ms. Muci inserts implausible circumstances into the narrative to help explain Elena’s existential ethic that’s at times devoid of moral value, but pushes her back into becoming a traditional role-model for women later in the film – as spouse and mother.
If one can discount the story (if only), the direction and editing is actually pretty decent, and the film also has the requisite technical merits. The cinematography is good, as is the soundtrack, and the performances are professional. Playing the role of a passively adventurous protagonist, Ms. Foglietta comes across as a seriously talented actress. And coupled with her magnetism and natural good looks, one can hope to see her take on more challenging works in future. One also hopes this was a valuable finding-your-feet exercise for Ms. Muci as a writer, directorial skills notwithstanding.
The Nudity: Anna Foglietta, Giulio Berruti, and Lorena Cacciatore
The film features nudity on several occasions, and at least one of the sex scenes is positively raunchy – the one featuring Anna Foglietta and Lorena Cacciatore.