The feature debut from writer-director Carolina Cavalli is a playful character study of a combative young woman who struggles to connect with others.

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Contemporary World Cinema

Amanda

Carolina Cavalli

This playful and remarkably assured debut from writer-director Carolina Cavalli is a quirky character study of a young woman who, despite having everything going for her on the surface, struggles to make connections with others her age.

Born into an upper-class family with a doting mother who foots the bill for her indolent lifestyle, 24-year-old Amanda (emerging talent Benedetta Porcaroli) spends time avoiding work and haunting the local cinematheque in Turin, where she looks for boyfriends but only finds “weird” misfits who mirror her own social situation of being alone every Saturday night.

Amanda is lonely but manages to push others away with her awkward and combative personality. She tags along, uninvited, to her much-older housekeeper’s family picnics and encourages her school-aged niece to rebel against her mother — Amanda’s more responsible and long-suffering older sister, Marina. When Amanda discovers that Rebecca, whom Amanda was close to as a toddler, is back in town, she makes it her mission to convince Marina they are still best-friend material.

Initially, Amanda and Rebecca do not seem to have much in common anymore. The latter became a popular high-school athlete and has since studied to become a lawyer. Yet Rebecca’s sudden homebound lethargy puts Amanda in the unique position of being comparatively high-functioning, imbuing her small daily dramas and outings with a sense of purpose. Cavalli’s sharp dialogue and Lorenzo Levrini’s stylish cinematography — isolating shots and bold alternating colour palettes — capture the zeitgeist of cultural irreverence and the underlying thrum of anxiety particular to Gen Z. The result is a film that feels completely modern while evoking the energy of youth-centred New Wave cinemas.

ROBYN CITIZEN

Screenings

Mon Sep 12

Scotiabank 8

Press
12:00pm
Thu Sep 15

Scotiabank 3

Regular
6:00pm
Sat Sep 17

Scotiabank 4

Regular
12:30pm