<i>Love Burns</i> is a comedy that is rooted in the pervasive melancholy of contemporary Italy. As filmmaker Davide Ferrario puts it: “There is a sad atmosphere around Italy, these last years. It looks like people are not satisfied with what they are and with what they might be. The effect is a very peculiar esprit du temps: arrogant, aggressive and predatory.”
The protagonist, a high school teacher named Rosario, is a sign of the times. Depressed, his leftist ideals down the drain, and his wife Elena out the door, he feels the world plotting against him. When Salvatore, an old friend and small-time gangster who is under house arrest next door admits to falling in love with him, and Amelia, a colleague, starts to fall for him, too, things become overwhelming and Rosario attempts suicide. Of course he fails. Taking the advice of the Virgin Mary, who appears to him in a vision, Rosario decides to “tune in with the world” and become a criminal. Surprisingly, society accepts him in this new role.
<i>Love Burns</i> is a smart and bitter film about the search for understanding and acceptance. Giuseppe Cederna, who played the shy soldier in the Academy Award–winning Mediterraneo, brings real pathos to the part of Rosario, and it is on his shoulders that the film rests.
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