Out this week in Italy, showing on a grand total of one screen: Tre lire, primo giorno. This is a comedy directed by the novice Andrea Pellizzer and starring a bunch of people I’ve never heard of. It’s had a lot of good responses on the festival circuit, though, and the plot – a kind of road movie / coming of age type thang – sounds a bit more interesting than the normal, run-of-the-mill Italian filler.
According to the Indianapolis Film Festival notes (which look to have been translated using google translator):
In an unspecified city of the northern Italy, a ninety-year-old is admitted in a local hospital. He has no clothes, no documents; his hair is long, white as snow.There are four young guys – who still did not decide about what to do with their life – working as nurses in the same hospital.One night, the old guy awakes. He walks the corridors of the hospital and he finds the four nurses hidden in a small room, concentrated over a poker table. The old guy looks like a spirit in the night. He claims his name is Carlo. Speaking in his dialect, he explains to the four terrified guys that he has something to propose to them. In a square overlooking the sea, there is a small box hidden below one of the tiles. Inside, there is a letter. On the letter there is stamp: it is a Tuscan Tre Lire, dated January 1st 1860. It is the most precious stamp known.But he wants them to leave immediately. Carlo says he has no long time left to live. Tomorrow, he could be again in a coma. If they don’t accept to come with him, he is going to find someone else. There is no time to lose. It’s all or nothing.The small troop of nurses decides to follow the old guy. For them, in this summer night full of promises and uncertainties, starts an adventure full of obstacles and surprises; they are going to discover who they really are and where they are really heading for. Carlo is accompanying them. In his fragility, he has something to teach them: a desperate, indestructible desire of living. It is a long trip that soon changes from its course: they discovery Italy off the main roads, far from the eyes of the tourist. They discover great desert places and small villages. In the midst of the summer warm, these places look as waiting for something. Like the faces they meet: the faces that tell the silent stories, stories of victories and defeats, waiting to be told. In the journey, there is a mystery of a man. The old Carlo, who has lived an entire century, suffered hunger, lived the wars and travelled all over the country, who has known many: he lived his life. Carlo has decided again – maybe for the last time in his life – to make it in his own way, against everybody and everything.For the four protagonists, Fabrizio and his friends – the journey and all it brings will change their lives for ever and nothing will be the same as before.
There’s also a website for the film that’s worth a quick look.