Directed by Paolo Genovese (2017)
If Perfect Strangers investigated the darkest sides of those who move among us, The Place explores the black souls that live within us. The man sitting at the bar, day and night (brought to life by Valerio Mastandrea), gives directions to people who turn to him for advice on how to achieve their own desires, signing a real-life contract with them. To become more beautiful, to spend a night with a porn star, to save a son, to regain sight, and to find God are just some of the wishes that various characters in the film reveal to the man at the bar. “It can be done,” he answers as he writes quickly in his large planner filled with notes in every corner of every page. But of course, there is a price.
Genovese’s film is an adaptation of the 2010 American television series, The Booth at the End, adding some characters, removing others, interweaving their stories and finding an appropriate ending for each of them (the screenplay was written by the director with Isabella Aguilar). We follow the progress of the tasks assigned — characters appear in front of the man punctually to update him (“give me the details,” he repeats to each of them).There are hesitations and second thoughts but there are also those who lie or go beyond the established limits in a whirlwind of human degeneration.
Genovese confirms that he is a brave director in search of new territory and as in Perfect Strangers, he pushes the audience to question things, sending us home with a dilemma in our heads: what would I do in their situation?
NOTE: The film is in Italian with ENGLISH subtitles.
Online Italian Trailer: www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDQwNVp65HY