GIUSEPPE FIORELLO | ITALY | 2023 | 134 MIN | ITALIAN S.-T.EN.
Awards-magnet Fireworks, a nod to the real life Giarre scandal, takes us to the scorched, wind-swept landscape of 1982 Sicily. There, two gay teens begin to live their love out in the open in a machismo culture, despite the explosive consequences.
Stories—and roads—converge as ridiculed mechanic’s assistant Gianni (Samuele Segreto) and family-oriented Nino (Gabriele Pizzurro) collide accidentally on their mopeds during an intense chase. Fortuitously, this leads to a job offer for Gianni, who can escape the oppression of his mother’s partner and the come-ons of a brutish townsperson, and has an opportunity to spend time with Nino. Swimming, swooning, lit by flashes of light in the skies over picturesque Italian towns. Falling dizzyingly in love under watchful, jealous eyes. Writer-director Giuseppe Fiorello (winner of Best Newcomer and Best First Work trophies for Fireworks) does stylistically and narratively for 80s Italy what C.R.A.Z.Y. did for 60s and 70s Quebec, depicting humans in all of their complexity: anger melting to gentleness, a father sucking on both cigarettes and his inhaler. Small people hemmed in by small lives, and the ones who want to love with “softer colours.”
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