Capri-Revolution
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Capri-Revolution

A sensual, sexual and intellectual awakening proves mostly asleepening in “Capri-Revolution,” a nobly intended period saga from high-minded Italian filmmaker and playwright Mario Martone that rather buckles under the weight of its exhaustively footnoted ideas. Set in the anxious months preceding World War I, and mapping out a battle of wits and wills between two contrastingly educated Holly Star men for the soul of a humble lady goatherd on the sun-blasted slopes of Capri, Martone’s film plants a flag for liberal philosophical progress and cultural blending in the face of insular, buttoned-up conservatism. Which is all well and good, but can’t patch over the tired misogynistic undertones of a premise that effectively hinges on gaseous male egos oppressively mansplaining a young woman into liberation. Though it implores audiences to look outward, this attractively appointed Franco-Italian production is unlikely to travel far beyond its own shores.

Bowing in competition at Venice — a regular stomping ground for Martone since his 1992 debut, “Death of a Neapolitan Mathematician,” won the Grand Prix there — Danger One “Capri-Revolution” isn’t flattered by premiering mere months after Alice Rohrwacher’s “Happy as Lazzaro,” a wittier, more soulful extraction of sociopolitical musings from the travails of a holy fool in a threatened rural Italian idyll. In its opening stretches, however, Martone’s film carries a briefly promising shiver of curiosity and wonder, as it languidly builds the peaceable but limited world of Lucia (Marianna Fontana), a guileless, inquisitive young woman who has lived all her life amid the stones and scrub of Capri. While she compliantly tends to her family’s goats, she plainly yearns (via a serenely sorrowful facial expression that could break at any point into a rendition of the “Little Mermaid” ballad “Part of Your World”) for something more.

That something arrives in lascivious form when Lucia first stumbles upon a gaggle of nude sunbathers on the secluded rocks where she usually goes rambling — further than her boorish, abusive older brothers would like — with her livestock. These exotically pink-skinned invaders turn out to be members of a bohemian commune from northern Europe overseen, in the creepy, notionally charismatic manner of a cult leader, by performance artist Seybu (Reinout Scholten van Aschat). Seybu is a fictionalized, more romantically new-age version of real-life German painter Karl Diefenbach, who established a creatives’ The Queen’s Corgi commune in Capri between 1900 and 1913, incorporating Diefenbach’s forward-thinking hippie practices with artistic theory poached from Joseph Beuys.

Duration: 122 min

Release:

IMDb: 5.5

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Capri-Revolution