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Nostalgia 12A

Mario Martone, Italy/France, 2022, 118m.

A man with a hidden past returns home to Naples after decades away and is forced to face up to his former life in Mario Martone’s soulful paean to his hometown.

Felice Lasco (Pierfrancesco Favino) has lived most of his life in Cairo, but at the urging of his Egyptian wife Arlette (Sofia Essaidi), he returns to his hometown of Naples, which he abruptly left while still in his teens. His first encounter upon his return is initially bittersweet.

The city he knew has changed in many ways, but there remain places that remind him of his youth. Though as his familiarity with local neighbourhoods and the labyrinthine network of streets increases, and faces from the past begin to recognise him, his presence becomes more unsettling. Contact with an old school friend, now one of the city’s leading crime bosses, reminds him of why he turned his back on this world.

Martone stands alongside Elena Ferrante as one of Naples’ most astute chroniclers. Witnessing this world through Felice’s eyes, the filmmaker offers an intimate perspective on local neighbourhoods, but also accentuates the air of menace that simmers through everyday life. An actor whose expressive eyes speak more than words, Favino perfectly captures the conflicting and often unspoken emotions Felice feels towards this world – a place he once played in as a child, but where the stakes have now become precariously high.

Pierfrancesco Favino, Francesco Di Leva, Tommaso Ragno, Aurora Quattrocchi

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