SBIFF 2015: "Banana"

Film Review: Banana
2015 Santa Barbara International Festival
World Premiere

"Banana" is a delightful and ultimately poignant comedy from Italy about a chubby and hopelessly romantic boy who went to great lengths to win the affection of a beautiful girl he likes.

The story is about a young boy, who fancies himself as Brazilian and is nicknamed Banana for his poor soccer skills, is teased at school for not only his lack of skill on the field but also in the classroom. Despite his less-than remarkable grades, he offers to tutor a girl he has a crush on. A bit bewildered by the offer, she agrees.

Written and directed by Andrea Jublin, this movie offers ample laughs but it does not just end there. The audience is presented with thoughtful subplots featuring the adults and other kids that surround Banana's world. There's a stern teacher who has decided to torture her student after she had lost hope about the world around here and his mother and father who has long ago ceased communicating sincerely. There's also his sister who is torn between her first love and her new boyfriend who is offering her a new life. He also has a classmate whose entrepreneurial skills have him selling anything and everything - and always funny every time!

There's a certain charm to see an innocent young boy set out to prove to himself that he can achieve anything he imagines if he keeps his sight on it and works on it while all the adults around him have surrendered their lives to a fate they imagined they deserved.

The main character, Banana (his real name is Giovanni) reminds me strongly of the three girls in the swedish film "We Are the Best (a favorite from last year) --- their zest for life and his limitless optimism that there's always something good, something nice for each one of us if we all just believe are truly inspiring.

The wonderful cast include Ascanio Balbo, Anna Bonaiuto and Giorgio Colangeli.

Rating: 4 Stars

Raymond Lo

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