A marvelous - and darkly unsettling - tale of 'reality'
Matteo garrone's reality - winner of the grand prix award at the 2012 cannes film festival - is a marvelous piece of work. it is also, however, difficult to describe. the trailers for reality, in my opinion, tend to give the wrong impression, that it is a comedy or a satirical send-up of reality shows. but while there are comedic moments in the film, particularly in the earlier parts, as the story progresses it draws you deeper and deeper into some dark territory, but it does it so gradually and seductively that even as your feelings of unease begin to rise, you cannot bring yourself to look away. the closest comparison i can make is to think of it as a combination of a dark twin-piece to 1998's the truman show, except that here the protagonist is outside looking in, and josef von sternberg's 1930 masterpiece the blue angel (der blaue engel). set in the current day, luciano (aneillo arena) is a likeable everyday guy in naples. he has a good life, a loving family, and while he's not rich, he manages to get by with his regular job as a fishmonger and a little scam he runs on the side ripping off pasta-makers from the manufacturer and selling them on the black market. life is good... until one day, out of the blue, he gets a chance to try out for grande fratello, the italian version of the tv show big brother. and thus begins his seduction by the prospect of becoming a celebrity. highly, highly recommended.