Don’t bother with Ferdinando Vicentini Orgnani’s deeply unoriginal Re-wined; the broadest of farces, with the most photocopied of plots. The only thing more offensive than the laziness of the film is its blatant reappropriation and desecration of a classic work of Soviet literature.
Reviewed by Drew Ninnis.
Director: Ferdinando Vicentini Orgnani.
Screenplay: Ferdinando Vicentini Orgnani.
Runtime: 100 minutes.
Cast: Vincenzo Amato, Erika Blanc, Stefano Cassetti, Gioele Dix.
Plot: Telling the story of a murder and an encounter with the occult in reverse, Re-wined (get it?) follows the fall and then rise of ordinary man Giovanni Cuttin to the highest echelons of Italian winemaking. Developing a dangerous and expensive obsession with the finest vintages, Cuttin wakes up one morning after passionate love-making with a mysterious woman to find his wife dead and himself the target of the investigation. But could this all be linked to a shady deal with “the professor?” Yes, yes it is.
Festival Goers? Miss it.
Viewed as part of the Lavazza Italian Film Festival.
Review: ‘Manuscripts don’t burn’ Soviet author and dissident Mikhail Bulgakov famously lamented, in a moment of despair over his incriminating masterpiece The Master and Margarita. Fortunate for us, then, that celluloid is highly flammable – so that the shameless rip-off Re-wined (Vinodentro) can be quickly and blessedly consigned to the flames. Loosely based on the novel “Vinodentro” by Fabio Marcotto, the film fancies itself as an updating of the Faustian bargain featured in Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita; going so far as to wholly steal the characters of the shady ‘Professor’ (Professor Woland in the classic novel) and his entourage of strange lackeys who fight amongst themselves. Indeed, even the downfall of pact signatory Giovanni Cuttin is ensured by a femme fatale named Margarita, who is most definitely seen naked (although sadly, without a magical cream to apply, or flying over the darkened landscapes of Russia) and a dream-sequence involving a grand ball that features heavily in the third act of the film. Other smaller acts of appropriation from a master of literature appear sprinked throughout the film; seeking to clothe themselves in the respectability of an homage, they are closer to a defacement of a beloved masterpiece.
The narrative centres on Giovanni Cuttin (Vincenzo Amato), a connoisseur of fine wines and master of the elite Italian world of oenophiles. Waking up one morning to find the police at his door, Cuttin is arrested for the murder of his ex-wife and a series of possible fraudulent loans at his former employer, a distinguished Italian bank. The inspector (Stefano Cassetti) assigned to the case slowly unwinds Cuttin’s story, as he recounts a mysterious pact with a man he now believes to be the devil and his transformation from meek teetotaller to successful businessman and contemporary Cassanova. But the price of this transaction is quick in coming; as his wife seeks and gets her revenge, squandering his beloved wine collection, and the mysterious Professor collects the rest of the payment in blood. The film ends up where you expect it would, with Cuttin’s ultimate comeuppance and an entirely predictable coda for the poor inspector. The performers acquit themselves competently, but really there’s not a lot to work with here.
The complaints that can be levelled against the film? Well, a lack of ambition for one – it is content to skate on a thin pitch of an idea, mostly ripped from the aforementioned classic Soviet work. If one wishes to pay a homage to something, or update it, then a lot of skill and originality needs to be applied to distinguish the apprentice work from its master – an effort not even attempted here. The film is full to the brim with unsubtle product placements to subsidise its mediocrity, and the bourgeoisie cult of consumption is suitably fetishised and celebrated even as the film half-heartedly attempts to deliver a limp lesson against it. What laughs there are remain crude and broad, with the lowest farce played for the maximum amount of laughs. The film wears its contempt for women on its sleeve, with remarks like ‘seducing a woman is easy but it takes a real man to ditch one.’ The soundtrack consists entirely of the same dirge repeated over and over again. At points the camerawork and composition are dubious; with amateurish evidence of parallax effects in hallway shots and other telltale signs of a film composed with little care.
What really condemns Re-wined, though, is its sheer laziness – directorial and otherwise. It attempts nothing original and accomplishes nothing original, hoping to live off the goodwill of uneducated nitwits who have either never heard of Bulgakov’s manuscript or never read it. Even being consigned to the flames would be too strenuous a distinction to be accorded to this indolent idiocy of a film.
Rating: One and a half stars.