Everyone remembers the challenge of working up the nerve to talk to a high school crush. For anyone who doesn’t, there are hundreds of Hollywood flicks chronicling the universal woes of being a teenager. Finding a film that approaches this with a fresh angle rivals the struggle of finally admitting your feelings. Yet the Italian film “As White as Milk, as Red as Blood,” which is showing in Cosford this Wednesday, manages to do so with quirkiness and originality.
Based on the Italian best-selling young adult novel, “As White as Milk, as Red as Blood” follows Leo, an impulsive class clown intrigued by colors and their meanings. He lives freely until he realizes the dangers of not acting on your dreams soon enough. A new professor forces Leo to recognize that his dream is worthwhile.
One of Italy’s most sought after stars, Luca Argentero, portrays the cool professor who jokingly tugs and pulls until he gets the truth out of Leo. Filippo Scicchitano embodies Leo with his wild curls and sensitive gaze. The up-and-comer is sure to continue his ascent in Italian cinema. Playing the love interest, Gaia Weiss proves her versatility as the fragile redhead after her main role in this year’s “The Legend of Hercules.”
The film’s palette, costumes, locations and soundtrack come together, adding new dimensions to the novel. The soundtrack provided by award-winning Italian rock band, Modà, is as melancholic and full of emotion as the film.
Even the film’s set stands out. Rather than the typical teenage rooms shown in Hollywood movies, the rooms in the film are as messy and full of life as the characters.
Unafraid to jump from the trivial afflictions of adolescence to more difficult subjects, “As White as Milk, as Red as Blood” sincerely faces both with the innocence of the teenage heart. Drawing parallels to in-class readings of Dante, the film eloquently and courageously asks questions we all ask ourselves far past our high school years, challenging how much someone is willing to sacrifice for dreams, for friends and for strangers.
If you go:
Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014
Free to students
5 out of 5 stars
For more recommendations of free foreign films, visit TMH’s Free Foreign Film Friday blog for Luisa’s must-watches available for free on Netflix, Amazon, Richter and Cosford.