It’s that time of year, so you know what to expect from the blog: Blah blah cold, blah blah misery, blah blah needlessly graphic descriptions of snot and undesired bodily functions.
I watched Volere Volare (or Wanting To Fly), an Italian movie my dad must have recorded off TV about twenty years ago.
Maurizio works in the dubbing business, dubbing silent cartoons with his own sounds, and frequently visits hardware stores to buy new instruments for their sound effects (his brother, meanwhile, hauls in scantily-clad women to dub pornography). Martina is a freelance… “social worker,” who ‘entertains’ clients in whatever they wish to do, such as a couple who roleplay grieving each others’ death; a taxi driver who revels in terrorizing customers; and a chef who decorates her legs and buttocks like a cake.
Maurizio stumbles into Martina’s life on a couple of occasions, but leaves a big impact on the people around her, leaving them more interesting in him than her. She seeks him out to make him a business partner, but complications arise when Maurizio discovers something shocking – his hands have turned into disembodied cartoons with minds of their own!
It’s a pretty odd film.
It’s a quirky, offbeat little film that manages to maintain a whimsical, fairy tale vibe despite half the film being about dudes with fetishes, basically. Heck, it’s hard to even describe it honestly without it coming across as depraved. The film’s real emphasis lies on its cartoon antics, from the great use of sound effects (Maurizio taking over his brother’s job of dubbing “arty films” is excellent), to the totally outlandish clients Martina has, to simply how plain goofy the leading actor looks. Maurizio Nichetti is a living cartoon! Even before he actually becomes one. (spoilers!)
There’s a fair amount of blending animation with live-action, but you can’t really compare it to Who Framed Roger Rabbit? because the spectrum of scope between them is just too vast (Roger Rabbit had dozens of animated characters in several shots and they were practically the co-stars, whereas Volere Volare covers up the animated stuff with a disguise of some sort frequently). That said, it’s very nice and smooth animation, and it blends in very nicely with the footage – Martina walks in front of cartoon Maurizio several times and interacts with him (ie. punching him in the crotch), and it’s really smooth. I’m just a sucker for technical stuff like that, see.
One thing I’ve been trying to figure out, though, is does the film count as a romantic comedy? Romance is pretty much the theme of the movie, but not a lot of romance actually goes on – Maurizio always ends up running away when his cartoon anatomy starts acting up, and the one time Martina appears madly in love with him is when she’s drunk off her skull. I can’t even remember the how or why they end up making passionate animated love by the end of the film.
It admittedly feels like a bit of an aimless film, though that’s probably just me and my Western sensibilities. It’s a fun little flick for what it is; it’s just a pity the thing’s so rare to find in English. It seems like the only way to get the film with English subtitles is to find it on VHS, and I can’t imagine that’s easy to come across.