Written and directed by brothers Damiano and Fabio D’Innocenzo, Bad Tales is an Italian drama film that is told by a voice-over of an unidentified adult male voice that informs the audience that he is continuing a story told in a girl’s diary that was found in the rubbish. What follows is the lives of various children and families during summer in a semi-rural town in Rome.
A lot of the film takes place during pool parties, visits to the beach and down time during the summer holidays. It takes a while to work out who is who, but as the film progresses you are introduced to two pubescent characters. The first being Dennis (Tommaso Di Cola) who has a few awkward encounters with the heavily pregnant teenager Vilma (Ileana d’Ambra) and Geremia (Justin Korovkin) who catches the measles so his father arranges a meeting between him and a female classmate so he can pass on the disease to her. While the children seem naïve, there appears to be more to them than meets the eye, as they seem smarter and more aware than the majority of the adult characters.
The film is presented through a series of vignettes with the relevant characters to help move the film along. Some of these vignettes can be a little difficult to watch at times as the film is presented in such a grotesque manner, but you also can’t help but feel compelled to continue watching. A couple of examples of this is a scene set during dinner where Dennis chokes on a piece of meat and what follows is an awkward and drawn out segment where his dad attempts to save him in the most uncaring way possible.
There is another scene where Dennis offers Vilma a biscuit and she nonchalantly pulls down her shirt to reveal her breast so she can squirt her breast milk onto her biscuit. On top of that, the characters aren’t interesting and are so bland that it feels like the film relies on its vulgarity to hold your interests rather that the characters themselves. The camera angles that the directors use, show the characters in such a disgusting way that at times it can be difficult to even look at them. The majority of the music that is used in the film sounds so disjointed that it can be unpleasant to listen to, however, it does seem somewhat appropriate for a film like this.
I understand that this film isn’t meant to be pretty and it is intended to be gritty, but it doesn’t seem worth it. Bad Tales doesn’t have much of a story and is rather just a series of scenes that are loosely tied together to make a film, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it appears as more of a disjointed mess than a cohesive film.
Bad Tales will be playing across Australia except Victoria as part of the St. Ali Italian Film Festival from the 29th of September until the 18th of October 2020.
For more information, visit: https://www.italianfilmfestival.com.au