A disparate group of characters collide in Dry (Sicchita), a semi-apocalyptic drama that will premiere out of competition at the Venice Film Festival. Paolo Virzi is directing this brilliant wallet film that packs a strong cast for overlapping storylines and satirical social commentary.
The action takes place in urban Rome, where it has not rained for three years. The drought has become a political issue, and commentators are lining up to offer theories and point fingers at blame. The social divide is widening: rich citizens find a way to cope with water shortages, while others become thirsty. Hospitals are overwhelmed with patients, many suffer from lethargy, which is apparently due to the influx of cockroaches.
There is clearly an environmental issue here, but most of the people we encounter are too self-absorbed to think about it. The drought is the backdrop to their stories, and its impact puts their problems in the spotlight.
There is Alfredo (Tomasso Ragno), an actor who is obsessed with his online following and ignores the fact that his son can be dangerous. Then there is the immigrant Sembene (Malich Cisse), who has been lashed out by the media trying to celebrate diversity. There is also the hospital doctor Sarah (Claudia Pandolfi); a prisoner (Silvio Orlando) who accidentally escapes from captivity; and the relatively small role of Monica Bellucci as Valentina, a powerful woman who soaks in a jacuzzi with ice in her drink. And there are more – many of whom seem to have psychopathic tendencies. Pregnant women remind us of the future of the unborn.
This is a dark vision of selfish people – the only ones who really doubt anything or offer useful suggestions are the youth and/or the refugees. Is it going anywhere? Not particularly. It is interesting? Wide, yes.
It’s a great movie with lots of intriguing characters and the occasional darkly funny moments. In its most poignant form, it resembles Don’t look up; at its most vague, it looks more like Thomas Vinterberg. It’s all about love. It doesn’t make a huge impact, but it’s an entertaining drama whose topical themes range from the environment to how people are coping with the pandemic.