Minerva Pictures International

New York Times’ sci-fi expert Elisabeth Vincentelli recommends MONDOCANE as Five Science Fiction Movies to Stream Now

Elisabeth’s thoughts on the film as reported by Medamo Murphy in the April NYT Watching Newsletter: “This Italian film is an interesting variation on the post-apocalyptic genre. Or maybe it’s an interesting variation on noir. Either way, the director Alessandro Celli is one to watch. By focusing on a pair of dispossessed 13-year-old urchins, Mondocane (Dennis Protopapa) and Pisciasotto (Giuliano Soprano), Celli delivers a perspective we don’t often see in movies set in the near-future. Fending for themselves in a semi-desolate Taranto, the boys have developed street smarts. But those might not be enough once they get accepted into the Ants, a gang led by the thuggish Testacalda (Alessandro Borghi) — the test for admission is setting a pet store on fire.

Navigating a landscape lined by ominous smokestacks and dilapidated shanty towns, the teenagers must forever prove their mettle. This is particularly challenging for Pisciasotto, who is epileptic, but Mondocane always stands by his buddy. Celli has mentioned “Oliver Twist” as an influence, and you can see it clearly in this film. The action, such as it is, is fairly mellow; “Mondocane” is more interested in depicting how these kids — including Sabrina (Ludovica Nasti), an orphan working in a steel mill — find ways to survive. This may sound like a bummer, but the film is most impressive as the vivid portrait of an indestructible friendship.”

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