Film

Film

by

In its early days, film was more about places than characters, or so insists the narrator of this quirky Italian love letter to the history of cinema. The place that inspired this would-be throwback is a magical one: Writer-director Ferrario sets his droll tale in the Mole Antonelliana, Turin’s labyrinthine museum of cinema. Melancholy night watchman Martino (Giorgio Pasotti) makes his rounds amid traces of La Dolce Vita; during breaks, he watches old reels of Buster Keaton falling into women’s bathtubs. One night Amanda (Francesca Inaudi), a gangster’s moll who works in the fast-food joint next door, comes to him for refuge; she’s in a scrape, and her boyfriend, a surprisingly tender hood named Angelo (Fabio Troiano), can’t help her. An introverted cinephile discovers love without ever having to leave the dream palace—it’s a theme that’s bound to appeal to critics. What makes After Midnight more than just another ménage à trois (in homage to Truffaut) is the way Ferrario, who also writes about movies, weaves the allure of early film into a contemporary story, shot with the latest high-definition technology. He suggests that all these characters, and we as viewers, are haunted by the ghosts of celluloid past.