Best of Iris Prize 2012 Short Films – Final Round-up




Ostia: La Finale Notte: Delving into the events leading up to the savage killing of activist and director Pier Paolo Pasolini, Ostia: La Finale Notte grips you from the very first scene. A young man, Pino, is on the telephone, scared and clearly desperate. We are unsure of his role, but sense ill intent. As he meets and leads Paolo on, what Pino has in store for the artist is slowly unveiled.

Ostia plays well on the distinct styling of Pasolini’s own films: every shot is deliberate, and aesthetically stunning. The post-modern narrative and elegant pacing lets you soak up the intrigue and digest the developing plot. There is a looming doom and darkness as the action unfolds. Despite knowing how this story ends, it still manages to sneak up and bludgeon you from out of nowhere. Something so beautiful turns out to be quite deadly, in story and in style.

Each character has intriguing motives, well calculated by the cast and executed gracefully.
Boreham’s integration of a strong, feisty female character, along with a lost, nervous but determined younger man takes you back to Pasolini’s Mamma Roma. Couple this with the delicious film-noir elements, and you have a film that oozes class.

Pino, played by Miles Szanto, successfully drives the emotion of the audience. We pity him, then loathe him; sympathise, then reject him. The best characters in film are never truly sympathetic, and never black and white. We see a man forced to do something terrible, then a man who seems to do terrible things with ease. Up until the final cut you never really know where Pino actually stands in all this, and that makes him fascinating.

At times it does feel as though a prerequisite knowledge of Pasolini is required to get the fullest experience from Ostia. In the film itself he feels a bit bland, and little is revealed about his character to make him engage with an unknowing audience member. Yet pristine execution and masterful storytelling made the film a strong contender at the Iris Prize Festival 2012. Graphic and sexy, Ostia: La Finale Notte is stunning.

Overall Opinion:Natural filmmaking is difficult in this style, yet Craig Boreham has made something that feels elegant and timeless. Evocative, gritty, gorgeous and refreshing. Ostia is a fitting homage to Pasolini.

Rating:8 out of 10

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