Dopo La Guerra tells the half-true story of a group of Italian far-left political terrorists, whose amnesty to live in France was rescinded in 2002. Annarita Zambrano’s tense film combines thriller and family drama to tell the story of one family split by this momentous ruling.
Marco (Batiston) was one of these terrorists in the eighties, on the run after murdering a judge. With the ruling lifted he finds himself under threat of extradition back to Italy, where his sister and her husband, now a senior judge, wait in an impossible position.
Zambrano nails the paranoia and anxiety of being on the run, whipping up a taut, tense atmosphere and exploiting the cracks between Marco and his teenage daughter, who simply wants to lead her normal life. The main problem is that his character is incredibly unlikeable. What little depth he has reveals a stubborn idealist who refuses to acknowledge the human cost of his actions, and who has zero sympathy for the chaos his daughter has been thrown into.
Over in Italy, the ensemble family drama is well realised, with loyalties tested under the strain of the imminent court case. The cast all perform well, but Zambrano’s script just doesn’t go deep enough. The details of the scenario are sketched out adequately but unless you lived through the similar real-life events in eighties Italy, there is very little context to give their stress any weight.
The action builds well in the first half, but dissipates into empty anticlimax and bizarre coincidence. There are undoubtedly extreme human costs and important debates at play within this story, but Dopo La Guerra doesn’t do them justice. Zambrano demonstrates a lot of promise with her direction, but the rest of the film is a disappointment.
CAST: Barbora Bobulova, Giuseppe Battiston, Marilyne Canto
DIRECTOR: Annarita Zambrano
WRITERS: Delphine Agut, Annarita Zambrano
SYNOPSIS: Bologna, 2002. The opposition to the Labor Law explodes in universities. The murder of a judge reopens old political wounds between Italy and France.