Search - Primo Amore (2004) on DVD

Primo Amore (2004)
Primo Amore
Actors: Vitaliano Trevisan, Michela Cescon, Elvezia Allari, Paolo Capoduro, Roberto Comacchio
Director: Matteo Garrone
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
UR     2005     1hr 34min

Vittorio is looking for his ideal woman. He meets Sonia, a sweet pleasant intelligent girl. A goldsmith by trade, Vittorio is obsessed with the desire to shape Sonia?s body and mind as he shapes gold with fire. Their relat...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Vitaliano Trevisan, Michela Cescon, Elvezia Allari, Paolo Capoduro, Roberto Comacchio
Director: Matteo Garrone
Creators: Vitaliano Trevisan, Marco Onorato, Matteo Garrone, Marco Spoletini, Domenico Procacci, Marco Mariolini, Massimo Gaudioso
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance
Studio: Strand Releasing
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/16/2005
Original Release Date: 01/01/2004
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2004
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 34min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Italian
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

The Dark Corners of Love and Obsession
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 05/02/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Writer/director Matteo Garrone has created in PRIMO AMORE yet another atmospheric film (not unlike 'L'Imbalsamatore') that deftly explores the dark side of human interactions and motivations. His style is gothic in nature but with a contemporary setting manipulated with quirky camera work and artistically designed sets that give the viewer the feeling of watching an experiment in a laboratory, the characters all being bounded by cage-like visual devices. Yes, this is film noir, but Garrone develops his bizarre characters so well that we grow along with their transformations into the icons they become.

Vittorio (Vitaliano Trevisan) is a goldsmith who exists on the modest, long-held family business of creating jewelry from molten gold in the ancient manner. We first meet him looking through the grid of a train station where he awaits Sonia (Michela Cescon), a young girl who has answered his classified ad for a date. They meet, Sonia is pleased, but Vittorio tells her right away that he expected her to be thinner. Sonia offers to return to her home out of town, a garden home she shares with her robust brother (Roberto Comacchio), but Vittorio decides he wants to try the date. They have a little courtship and all seems to go well until Vittorio begins to suggest that Sonia lose weight. They move into a nice home ('the site of Romeo and Juliet' the realtor boasts) and their coexistence begins.

Vittorio is confronted with the needs of his business expanding stimulated by an offer to partner his business from an entrepreneur who insists Vittorio make only heavy bracelets and substantial jewelry in response to what the public is buying: Vittorio has always preferred the tiny, thin, light weight delicate carvings of beauty rather than the bulkier profitable items. The decision causes Vittorio's two old workers to leave him and Vittorio is depressed.

As Sonia complies with Vittorio's ongoing obsession for her to be thin, Sonia's friends and brother tell her to beware of the strange demands of Vittorio, and despite Sonia's hunger for food, her hunger for being loved is greater and she slowly moves toward anorexia. Eventually in the solitary confinement of their home the two come into conflict and the result is a tragedy few would see coming.

The layers of meaning are deep: Vittorio's passion for the thin, delicate gold objects he creates as being things of true beauty are mirrored by his obsession for Sonia to be like those objects. Sonia works as a model for an art school and as she watches the students' works alter her once nubile body to a dwindling form, she feels terrified that she will waste away. Yet her need to not be rejected by Vittorio keeps her starving her body rather than her heart. Throughout this downward spiral of physical vs emotional attraction Garrone frames the scenes in increasingly complex grids, confining the story every more tightly until the ultimate rupture.

The acting is excellent and the combination of scene design and cinematography make this a dark but intensely interesting film experiment. It may not be a movie for everyone, but for those who appreciate avante garde stories and cinematic treatment, this is a film to study. Grady Harp, May 06"
Anton Ilinski | Moscow, Russia | 04/27/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I slipped on the same banana peel with Garrone's "Primo Amore". His previous work "The Embalmer" had a great opportunity to be an outstanding film, but unfortunately it didn't live up to my expectations. It was advertized much more interestingly than the film itself actually turned out to be. Though the idea was quite good. Same thing with "Primo amore" (First Love). I decided to buy it firstly because I saw some potential in "The Embalmer" and secondly because the plot seemed rather intriguing. And I was a bit disappointed again. Don't get me wrong - I think the story itself was fascinating, the acting was just superb, beautiful music helped creating really magnificent atmosphere. It was the execution of the story that lacked.
Vittorio is looking for an ideal woman meaning both body and mind. Problem is his ideal should weigh the least possible. 40kg would be fine. So when he finds Sonja who he begins to live with, he starts looking after her weight pushing her to lose it. Seems Sonja is OK with it, so she follows his orders, but it's obvious this kind of a story can only end tragically...
Nice story-line skids all the time, it lacks some action besides I couldn't get the characters' motivation. Seems like they are not normal people but somnambulists who don't act on their own according to their desires but obey a puppeteer-director. "Primo amore" is viscous and slow, all the time I wished I could hit the gas. Usually this kind of slow-moving features have a great psychological level which you got to dig out. Well, here I didn't notice any psychology. If we could just see feelings of the two main characters, if we could understand their experience and affliction... But we can't because the characters are rather plain and cardboard. The whole movie lacks some depth.
The only thing I liked were the last 15 minutes of the picture. They were what the whole film should have been. But somehow makers of the movie couldn't manage to keep all 90 minutes alike. I can't even call these last 15 minutes a climax 'cos there practically were no peripetia at all.
"Primo amore" is not a horror film certainly as someone states on the cover. I'd say it's one of those "films of unease" just like "The Embalmer" by the way both being about perverted and obsessive love. "Primo amore" is without a doubt moody. Maybe you'll like it if you like this kind of flicks where atmosphere is what matters the most.
I still think Matteo Garrone has a potential as a director and I'm sure he'll surprise us with some intelligent and intellectual thriller one day, but not this time."
An Italian Love Story Of Starvation And Codependency--Where'
K. Harris | Las Vegas, NV | 02/25/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Just hearing the plot of "Primo Amore," without any preconceived notions, I suspected this film was for me. I enjoy stories of psychological torment (yikes, maybe I need professional help), and this film has a premise that is both topical and relevant in today's appearance obsessed culture. Writer/director Matteo Garrone has crafted an interesting, unpleasant and creepy tale of obsession and love. Focusing on one man's concept of perfection, the film details one woman's attempt to meet that need--despite any consequences.

The film begins as we are introduced to Vittorio, a goldsmith played by Vitaliano Trevisan. He is meeting Sonia (Michela Cescon) who has just arrived for a first date after some form of long distance communication. Hoping for a love connection, Sonia is immediately disappointed that Vittorio is looking for someone thinner. The irony is that Sonia is a lovely and healthy woman, full of life, and confident enough with herself to be a nude art model. The two share a drink, and Vittorio is intrigued by Sonia--though with her weight "problem," he expects any attempt at a relationship would end in disaster. Despite his misgivings, he pursues Sonia and as the two embark on a relationship--he gets Sonia to go on a strict diet.

The psychological process that begins as Sonia accepts her new role in Vittorio's life is chilling and believable. The two end up isolating themselves, and this obsessive tale of love turns darker by the moment. The film doesn't shy away from showing Sonia's physical and mental deterioration, and it is harrowing and heartbreaking. There seems to be nowhere that this tale can go, and everything seems to be leading to an unpleasant, but necessary, conclusion. Both actors are remarkable--I particularly admired Cescon's commitment to her role. Unfortunately, the film fails to provide the viewer with the most necessary character insight. Even if we accept Vittorio's obsession at face value (he is equally obsessed with creating thin and impractical jewelry), the film never allows us to know Sonia. Why does she fall into this relationship? She is a vital woman, as represented, we never see the need or insecurity that would drive her to such extremes. This is such an integral part of the story that it is a major failing of the film not to help us understand it. And failing to understand it lessens the overall impact the film might have had.

"Primo Amore" may have the dubious distinction of being my favorite film that I've ever given 3 stars to. There is so much potential here and such great performances. The story is intriguing and different. A truly devastating tale of psychological abuse and codependency is within this film's grasp--but lacking a real understanding of the character motivations, particularly Sonia, this greatness eludes the final story. Still compelling and watchable, I regretfully wish the picture had fulfilled its potential. Definitely recommended, but not as effective and disturbing as it might have been. KGHarris, 02/07."