Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The Grand Bolero (2022)

Gabriele Fabbro has made his first feature film and the film world should be shaking in its boots. What will he do for an encore? Looking more like a film from the great Italian filmmakers from the 1960's or 70's Fabbro has fashioned a Gothic chamber piece that is firing on all cylinders from the first frame to the last.

The plot is simple. A young mute woman gets a job at a church in order to ride out the lockdown and learn how to restore organs. Her teacher, a cranky middle-aged woman wants no part of it, but her boss insists.  When the young woman is discovered to have great musical talent, her boss begins to melt and then things get messy....

A truly amazing achievement on every level GRAND BOLERO rocks the pillars of heaven from the start. Perfectly painted images set an emotional tone that is matched by the first-rate cast. Oscar missed out in nominating Lidia Vitale for best actress. It is exactly the sort of emotional role that Oscar normally eats up, and which audiences take to their hearts. This may end up being a touchstone role for her, with it being the role everyone talks about.

The film reminded me of any number of great Italian films of the past but dressed up as something new. While I could take the easy way out and compare the film to any number of gaillos as a means of shorthand, it would be wrong to do so. Fabbro has fashioned something greater. This is a psychological dance that transcends any genre to be something more. It may feel like a thriller but the truth is the film is a portrait of desire and the souls of the characters. This is a film that sets up new designations of what a film is.

I am floored.

While I know Fabbro has made a large number of short films I don't think I've ever seen as masterful a first feature. It is a film made with such an assured hand that you would swear he's been doing it for years. This is a film feature directors build toward not start from. The first features of the masters of cinema were not as assured as this film.  And truth be told no matter who made this film I would have still been amazed only I would have been asking why I hadn't heard of him before.

GRAND BOLERO is an absolute must...especially if you want to see the first feature work of a director who just might end up rewriting cinema history.

GRAND BOLERO is currently streaming on Amazon

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