Genre: Drama, Fantasy
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 2m
Director(s): Daniel Contaldo, Hannah Swayze
Writer(s): Hannah Swayze
Cast: Giorgia Tomasi, Lorenzo Passaniti, Catarina Fornaciai, Fabio Benvenuti
Language: Italian with English subtitles
Where To Watch: available now On Demand
RAVING REVIEW: CAVERNA is a journey into the mystical and adventurous exploration of human emotions, artistry, and self-discovery. Led by the enigmatic Alba (Caterina Fornaciai), we dive deep into the world of creativity at a theater workshop nestled in the scenic outskirts of Florence. Sounds normal enough for now, right? Things take a weird turn, and this “theater workshop” becomes the stage for a surrealistic fantasy that’s hard to explain. To be fair, if “weird for the sake of being weird” is your thing, then you may well love this experience. I could appreciate what they were attempting; unfortunately, it didn’t land for me. That’s precisely why I use the 2.5-star rating when I experience a film that I didn’t love but also didn’t dislike.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate the bold opening: a cyclops pursuing a princess through a dreamlike landscape. This fantastical element sets the stage for an intricate dance between reality and the abstract, where dreams become a physical entity. Through Alba's avant-garde methods, Giorgia (Giorgia Tomasi) and Lorenzo’s (Lorenzo Passaniti) most profound and sometimes eerie imaginations transform into vivid stage enactments. These are not mere illusions but tangible explorations of their inner worlds.
CAVERNA's clever interweaving of mythical elements, such as the cyclops, serves as more than mere visual flair. These symbols become the vessel for deep emotional exploration, allowing the characters to grapple with their internal conflicts, moving from broken pasts to a promising artistic future.
Let's pay attention to some of the film's daring decisions that might not resonate with every viewer. CAVERNA's non-linear narrative could sometimes seem disjointed or veer from its imaginative core. While these choices add complexity, they may momentarily disrupt the flow of this otherwise straightforward film. I don’t think I would consider this a negative, but this is a filmmaking technique that not all audiences will appreciate.
But oh, the cinematography! From the bright colors to the lush landscapes of Italy, the camera work is nothing short of magnificent. The imagery becomes the third character, linking the viewer to Giorgia and Lorenzo's evolutions, beautifully setting the stage for an experiential theater workshop.
Let’s talk about surreal, sometimes bewildering visuals, like the recurring cyclops. Although they may challenge some viewers, they add texture to the narrative. In CAVERNA, the ordinary becomes extraordinary, pushing boundaries and inviting introspection about our understanding of emotions, reality, and creativity. Even those uninitiated in the theatrical arts may find a spark of connection here.
The culmination of CAVERNA, intertwining scattered symbols, leaves an indelible mark. It crafts an experience that has an undeniable allure, though not for everyone. The rich European ambiance and intricate storytelling make CAVERNA a challenging cinematic experience and celebrate the human condition. Especially with its relatively short hour runtime, the film allows you to experience something you otherwise may not dive into quickly.
CAVERNA is a living, breathing entity that invites viewers to a refreshing adventure through uncharted creativity and human psychology territories. It dares to be different, offering something extraordinary in a world filled with the ordinary. If you’re ready to embark on a cinematic expedition that transcends the norm, CAVERNA is your ticket to a world awaiting discovery.
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[photo courtesy of GOOD DEED ENTERTAINMENT]
MY SAG-AFTRA/WGA STRIKE STATEMENT:
As an advocate for creators, actors, and writers, I firmly stand with SAG-AFTRA and the WGA in their current strike. The entertainment industry is built on these individuals' extraordinary talents, and their contributions must be appropriately recognized and rewarded. They deserve fair compensation, sensible work hours, and respect for their creative rights. I believe in the power of unity and collective action, and I'm steadfast in my support for their fight for better working conditions and fair remuneration. Together, we can shape a more equitable future in the entertainment world.
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