Raise Your Head (Alza la testa)
The father of a promising boxer is dealt more than a few blows in RAISE YOUR HEAD, the second feature from Alessandro Angelini (The Salty Air) which confirms his reputation as a talented actors' director. The beautifully played drama stars Sergio Castellitto, winner of the Best Actor award at the Rome Film Festival.
Tough-as-nails shipyard worker and former boxer Mero (Castellitto) and his teenage son, Lorenzo (promising new talent Gabriele Campanelli) live in the sprawling, multi-ethnic seaside outskirts of Rome between Fiumicino and Ostia. The handsome youngster is more talented in the ring than his father, who trains him, but he lacks Mero's drive and focus. The complicated but engrossing father-son relationship is expertly captured by Angelini who delves into these flawed but deeply human characters. When Mero, a man of few words, is forced to admit that he has taught Lorenzo everything he knows and it may be time him to move on to a more experienced coach, it is a quietly heartbreaking moment for both men.
Sergio Castellitto's pivotal performance is easily his best in years. Angelini's direction is assured, with probing, hovering, handheld camerawork and a gradual shift from day to night as the jaunty seaside pastels of the opening scenes shift towards the tenebrous nocturnal tones of the final section.