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  Get Out of Our House! No place like home
Year: 2013
Director: Rolando Ravello
Stars: Rolando Ravello, Kassia Smutniak, Marco Giallini, Agnesse Ghinassi, Raffaele Iorio, Zaira Berrazouga, Flavio Bonacci, Giorgio Caputo, Riccardo De Filippis, Ivano De Matteo, Antonio Gerardi, Lorenza Indovina, Hedy Krissane, Luca Lombardi, Paolo Sassanelli
Genre: Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: Agostino (Rolando Ravello), a struggling, working class Italian construction worker, returns with his family from son Lorenzo's (Raffaele Iorio) first holy communion to find the door to their apartment locked. Another family has occupied their house! Much to the dismay of Agostino and his Polish wife Anna (Kassia Smutniak), the authorities are unable to help, the police unwilling to do anything while their sleazy landlord is perfectly happy to take rent from someone else. At first the family, who also include teenage daughter Erica (Agnesse Ghinassi) and Agostino's whinging grandfather Rocco, stay with his brother-in-law Sergio (Marco Giallini) but the cramped conditions prove too much for their in-laws. In desperation, Agostino camps his entire family out in the hallway in front of their house in the vain hope they can outwit the nasty new occupants.

In the great tradition of Italian social satire, Get Out of Our House! a.k.a. Tutti Contro Tutti (All Out War) mines laughter and pathos out of a pretty dire and desperate situation. Apparently this form of home invasion is a major problem in the poorer suburbs of Rome. Perhaps the film's most distressing achievement is how the socioeconomic collapse has all but snuffed out the old sense of community and fostered in its place an atmosphere of paranoia, resentment and racial tension. The laughter that arises in this fairly bleak comedy stems from observing the depths to which Italy's working class have to sink to keep from going under in an increasingly dog eat dog world. Yet actor turned co-writer (with Massimiliano Bruno) and director Rolando Ravello counterbalances his cynical social critique with a light touch and heart-wrenching family drama.

While the family improvise a makeshift living room and comically improbable toilet, inevitably their sit-in protest upsets the neighbours. They all lock their doors in fear the family will steal their homes. The film gives only the briefest glimpse of the new occupants though their cruel taunts and ceaseless profanities rattle Agostino and his family from behind closed doors. They fling the family's meagre possessions into the hall and even eat the cake Agostino bought to celebrate Lorenzo's first holy communion. Things go from bad to worse. Unable to get a good night's sleep, Anna falls unconscious at work as a housemaid, Erica becomes an object of ridicule among her peers while poor little Lorenzo goes from A-student to struggling in class. At the same time being displaced spurs the protagonists to pull together tighter as a family. Erica in particular not only matures into a wiser, kinder person and comes to realize her father is not merely a neurotic buffoon but a man struggling to do right as best he can. While Ravello's direction is largely low-key, his performance as the tragicomic Agostino is deeply affecting and nuanced. In an especially powerful scene he counters the suggestion by a priest that prayer is the only option by observing the Vatican owns so much property around Rome but only rent to the rich.

Early on grandpa Rocco bitterly observes their ethnically diverse neighbours look upon them with disdain: "We are surrounded by a third world that wants us dead." However, although Get Out of Our House! tackles the touchy subject of racial tensions in multicultural Italy, Agostino comes to realize his real problems stem from other Italians. Be it unsympathetic bureaucrats, the bitchy client (Lidia Vitale) that exploits cheap foreign labour or most frighteningly the scary landlord who complains about "gypsies, chinks and negroes" and eventually takes the story in an altogether darker direction. However, armed with a strong sense of right and wrong and unflagging determination, Agostino becomes a rallying figure for the multiracial community. Eventually everyone from the kindly Egyptian couple to a Russian transvestite hooker pull together to help the family in one last, desperate gambit to reclaim their home. A last minute twist ends things on a note certainly cynical and sad yet tinged with hope.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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