27th Sep2014

Human Capital – Film

by timbaros

images-239A cyclist gets mowed down by a car on an empty country road and it’s a mystery as to who did it. In the new film Human Capital, we are left guessing until the very end.

Human Capital (Il capitale umano) is a smartly directed and acted film that is cleverly told in four parts, with the first three parts named after three of the film’s characters. These parts are constructed in a way that tells the story form three different perspectives – until part 4 of the film when it is revealed who hit the cyclist. It’s a film with a very strong cast – Italian actors and actresses who are at the top of their game, and in addition to a very good script, it makes it worth seeing.

Dino Ossola (Frabrizio Bentivoglio) is a man who feels like he’s not where he wants to be in life. He’s an older man, with his own real estate company, operating out of a very small office in the center of town. He recently downsized his company but still wants to climb the social ladder. So he plans on using his daughter Serena (Matilde Gioli) as a stepping stone because she’s dating the son of very wealthy financial investor Giovanni Bernaschi (Fabrizio Gifuni). Dino decides to invest 700,000 EUR in Giovanni’s fund where he’s promised spectacular returns. But the opposite happens, and within days Dino has lost 90% of his investment. He’s desperate not only to recoup the money as most of it was borrowed, but he needs the money because his pyschologist wife Roberta (Valeria Golino) has announced that she is pregnant. Meanwhile, Giovanni’s wife Carla (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) has nothing better to do all day then to spend her husbands’ money and by having him fund a theatre company for her. She’s excited about the prospect of doing something with her life, instead of shopping all day, and hires a board of directors for the theatre company. Meanwhile, Giovanni needs to take a sudden overnight business trip as it appears there’s problems with his investment company.

Serena, even though she is dating Massimiliano, meets goodlooking Luca (Giovanni Anzaldo) at Roberta’s office. They strike up a conversation and decide to meet up later, and soon enough they fall for each other. But there is a racuous alcohol-fueled party that Massimiliano has gone to, and Serena receives a phone call from one of the partygoers to come and pick him up because he is too drunk to drive. She’s at Luca’s apartment when she receives the phone call, and they both go together. But it’s the mystery of who was actually driving Massimiano’s car which drives the plot for Human Capital. It’s Massimialiano’s car that is identified by a witness of being the car that hit the cyclist, but he says he doesn’t know how he got home the previous night. So who actually hit the cyclist? Who’s to blame?

Human Capital is a mystery whodunnit without it ever being a detective story. It’s brilliantly told from all angles and from all the characters who have some sort of involvement in each other’s lives. It’s a different way of storytelling, and Director Paolo Virzi pulls it off. He’s made several films over the past decade but this film will make his name, and work, better known. He’s said of this film – “it’s tells the story of how money – the angst of multiplying it, the anxiety of losing it – determines the relationships, the fates, and the worth of the people it touches.” The film has won many awards, not just in Italy but in America as well. Valeria Bruni Tedeschi was just recently named Best Actress at the Tribeca Film Festival for her work in this film. It’s a film not to be missed.