January 20, 2022

SCREEN | Vanessa Kirby Wanders – 'Italian Studies'

"Does memory even matter?"
Vanessa Kirby Adam Leon | Italian Studies
Magnolia Pictures / Mongrel Media
New York indie filmmaker Adam Leon writes and directs Vanessa Kirby in a dreamlike character piece filmed on the streets of London and New York City. Their film, Italian Studies, follows a hazy trip down a dissociative rabbit hole of fractured identity—not totally dissimilar to Alice in Wonderland.

Kirby's amnesiac Alina is confused by certain interactions or details she does not remember as we witness her amnesiac journey wandering around the city. It's a disquieting portrait as she meets seemingly random teenage lost souls who know her from somewhere somehow. Kirby magnetically carries the erratic film's loose street-level narrative impressively.

Cinematographer Brett Jutkiewicz captures some sparkling visuals complemented by composer Nicholas Britell's smoothly enticing musical score. Together, they encapsulate the paranoid yet improvisational film's moody dreamscape. Leon offers a captivating quality to how he chooses to express certain creative aspects of literature, documentation, and storytelling within the film.

There's a slipstream quality to this story about an insomniac writer forgetting and remembering who she is. How memory loss and a faded sense of self manifest on-screen are intimate yet creatively realized. We experience Kirby's feelings of dislocation drifting into her vague recollections of her artistic process.

Italian Studies is available to stream through digital and video on demand.

More | AIPT / Indiewire / THR

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