Italian Studies @ Tribeca

Has she lost her memory? We never really know. Alina (Vanessa Kirby – Hobbs and Shaw, Mission:Impossible – Fallout) says she cannot remember, but ….what is the whole story? She ties her dog up outside a store, goes inside and then something occurs making her totally forget her dog and even who she is. What happened? We will never really know in director/screenwriter Adam Leon’s (Tramps, Gimme the Loot) Italian Studies enjoying its world premiere at Tribeca.

It is a strange film. A not for everyone type. Not really a story here to sink your teeth into. Or even really your typical characters. We are not even sure if what we are seeing through Alina’s eyes is even happening. Are the conversations she is having with different teens real or imagined? We just follow her over the course of a day or so in New York City as she wanders around not sure who she is, where she is going or having any idea or desire to figure her way out of this.

A woman going through a voyage back to herself via wandering the streets one night and day. Quite existential. Especially considering we know nothing about Alina, other than she smokes, is a writer and has a husband (David Ajala – Jupiter Ascending, Fast & Furious 6), before she embarks on the mysterious wandering. Why is this happening? Is she trying to escape from something? Tons of questions with no real answers ever to be found. Definitely all about the vibe it creates and Kirby’s performance.

What we could previously say about British actress Vanessa Kirby is that she is a very talented actress. With her impressive stage career, romps in action films Hobbs and Shaw and Mission: Impossible showing she could handle action sequences and her attention grabbing turn as Princess Margaret in the first two seasons of Netflix’s acclaimed series The Crown. Not of late you have to add that she does not take expected roles or ones which will make her a big star. Rather she is looking for meaty and challenging roles to sink her teeth into. In the last couple of years she has played Tallie, a woman in love with another woman in an American frontier film, The World To Come, an incredibly vulnerable Oscar nominated performance as a woman who loses her child in Pieces of a Woman and now, Alina in Italian Studies.

Besides making unexpected choices she is also demonstrating herself to be brave. As if her 25 minute continuous take birth scene in Pieces of a Woman wasn’t enough now in Italian Studies she does a scene in which she goes into a dark alley, pulls down her pants and pees. Willing to do anything, it seems, for a role. To bring to life and further, flesh out a character. All this boils down to the fact that she is a very watchable actress as she brings tons of realism and depth to all her characters. Even in slow, dreamlike films like this one.

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