DIRECTOR: LINA WERTMULLER
CINEMATOGRAPHY: ENRICO JOB
MUSIC: D'ANGIO GRECO
CAST: Paolo Villaggio, Isa Denieli, Gigio Morna, Sergio Lolli, Ester Carloni.
ONE WORD: The kids and the whole film.
If there is one thing that is very enjoyable in the Lina Wertmuller's films, it is that she is not afraid to show off the wild side of anything. Whether it is a class struggle, or simply the plight of a well to do person, there is always a side of us all that is as crazy, angry, and righteous, as anything as we have ever seen.
In a Lina Wertmuller film, these things usually come to the front. And often it becomes a struggle between classes, or people that fit in various stratas. Well, this film is different from all those in that it does a bit of the opposite, and shows us a human side, that we, westerners with a conscience, would rather not admit, or ever, accept as a truth.
CIAO, PROFESSORE!, is a brilliant assault on the educational system, not only in Italy, but the world over. But it has one thing that some of those systems may lack in places. A caring heart, who has less of a selfish interest in the ideologies of learning, and a bit more interest in those who need to learn.
Professor Sperelli, is accidentaly sent to the south, instead of the position he was hoping for in northern Italy. And in Italy, the south is known for its roughness, and lack of education, if the film is any indication. And the un-perturbed maestro sets about filling out his classroom, since it only has two or three children when he first shows up.
In the process of making friends of the children he also gains a few enemies, but his good heart usually wins out. Specially for anyone who appreciates a good job, well done. The conclusion of the film is a bit sad, but also a statement that those involved in the education system, for the most part do not share the commitment that many instructors do. Professor Sperelli does anything he can, and has no support at all. Good intentions wasted, no doubt. But an excellent film, that is terribly enjoyable, with the filthiest mouthed children that you have ever seen or heard. But the end result will tame the wildest in you, as well as Maestro Sperelli.
A superb acting job by Paolo Villaggio as the professor, is really the shining light in this film. But it is hard to dismiss the children and their well thought out characters and styles. This
may very well be Lina Wertmuller's very best film yet.
Date: January 1995
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