Title: Lo Scambio (The Exchange)

Director: Salvo Cuccia

Starring: Filippo Luna, Paolo Briguglia, Barbara Tabita, Vincenzo Pirrotta, Maziar Fioruzi, Orio Scaduto, Sergio Vespertino, Alessandro Agnello, Giovanni Cintura.

Salvo Cuccia’s first feature film – Lo Scambio (The Exchange) is set in a plumbeous Palermo in 1995. Nameless characters drift towards their ambiguous destiny. Nothing is what it seems. A couple opens the story. She is in her forties and tormented by the fact she can’t have children. Her husband appears to be a chief of police engrossed in his work. His driver takes him everywhere, also to interrogate a young man who was acquainted with two men that were killed that day.

This apparent crime drama starts as an investigative piece and gets devoured by a pretentious style that tries to be oneiric and creepily hallucinogenic but turns out to be a wannabe and failed Buñuel. Surrealism attempts to bring a major introspection to the characters’ interior torment.

Portraying the day to day lives of criminals, within an apparent normal and conventional routine, the film emphasises the code of silence within the family context and amongst the mobsters. The stretched out sluggish pace puts under a magnifying glass events that truly occurred, without choosing one in particular, but rather analyzing the universal weakness of these “Corleonesi” and how their world could shatter just as any others’.

But to describe this metaphor, every scene, every act, every line and every hypnagogic situation contains an allegory. Therefore it becomes extremely fatiguing to follow the narrative, understand its message and metabolize the entire movie. When the lead character lights some matches while interrogating the young man, these matches seem to be a crucial clue to the investigation. Instead, according to the director, this ploy is a reference to the way the mafia boss Provenzano negotiated with the Italian government.

This intricate stream of thought creates an hybrid film that is neither an action crime, nor an experimental piece. It fails in either genres and mostly in trying to fuse them into one.

Technical: C

Acting: B-

Story: F

Overall: C-

Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Lo Scambio (The Exchange) Movie Review

By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi, is a film critic, culture and foreign affairs reporter, screenwriter, film-maker and visual artist. She studied in a British school in Milan, graduated in Political Sciences, got her Masters in screenwriting and film production and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York and Los Angeles. Chiara’s “Material Puns” use wordplay to weld the title of the painting with the materials placed on canvas, through an ironic reinterpretation of Pop-Art, Dadaism and Ready Made. She exhibited her artwork in Milan, Rome, Venice, London, Oxford, Paris and Manhattan. Chiara works as a reporter for online, print, radio and television and also as a film festival PR/publicist. As a bi-lingual journalist (English and Italian), who is also fluent in French and Spanish, she is a member of the Foreign Press Association in New York, the Women Film Critics Circle in New York, the Italian Association of Journalists in Milan and the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean. Chiara is also a Professor of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at IED University in Milan.

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