Feb 29, 2012 09:09 AM EST

Italy: Love It or Leave It, South by Southwest Film Festival 2012

Italy: Love It or Leave It, South by Southwest Film Festival 2012
One the films in this year's SXSW Film Festival, Global Category is Italy: Love It or Leave It.  Directed by and starring Gustav Hofer and Luca Ragazzi, this "docu-trip" is an exploration of some of the lesser known parts of Italy.  Gustav is unhappy with how expensive it has become to live in Italy, and he wants to relocate to Berlin.  Luca believes in Italy, and wants to stay.  Many of their friends have already left for what appears to be greener pastures outside of their homeland.  Luca gets Gustav to agree to a big road-trip to remind Gustav of the great things about Italy.

This documentary begins great, with Luca choosing locations that relate to either the trip itself or to their childhood.  They travel the countryside in a Fiat, so naturally they begin at the Fiat plant, where they learn from a worker there about the conditions inside the factory.  (One of the hidden funny parts of this docu-trip is when Luca notices that their Fiat has changed color, and Gustav denies it)  From there they travel to a seaside town which used to be a very popular resort town for Italians, but has since fallen into disfavor with everyone except for Russians.  It seems that every place Luca has suggested that the two of them to go ends up showing a negative side to remaining in Italy.  While this is an odd and unexpected touch, in the middle of the docu-trip it begins to drag the whole production down.

Fortunately before the end of the trip the pair finds a local politician who explains to the pair why they should stay.  That message is important for everyone who believes in their country.  It is up to those who stay to fight to make things right.  If you don't like how your country is being run, it is up to you to work on changing it. 

This docu-trip has increased my desire to eventually get out to Italy, and to look for the secret, or hidden treasures of Italy, warts and all.  If you are expecting to see the pair travel to Venice, the Coliseum, the Vatican or even Pisa, then this isn't a show for you.  (Although they do visit those areas, just not in the manner you expect)  On top of showing some of Italy's not-so-well-known gems, the production values are solid, with excellent stop-motion animation to segway between scenes in an expected fashion for a docu-trip.  The audio is also well done without excess noise from the scenes and the voiceover work is perfect for the subject matter at hand.  If you're going to the SXSW Film Festival, I recommend that you try and find room in your schedule to go see this. 

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