Fortunata means lucky, and the luck of Fortunata (Jasmine Trinca), in Fortunata, is anything but. She cuts a strong impression as a poor and proudly sexy hairdresser, who dreams of winning big in the lottery and opening her own business. She’s got her best friend Chicano (Alessandro Borghi) and cute young daughter at her side, and the gumption to make it stick; what’s still standing in her way is her abusive ex-husband Franco (Edoardo Pesce), who’s contesting for custody of their child. And, as anyone who’s familiar with Kramer vs Kramer knows, nothing good can ever come out of a fierce custody battle.
That’s not to say that Fortunata herself is completely off the hook here – though director Sergio Castellitto certainly seems to love filming his star. Our first shot of her is in brightly-coloured underwear and, throughout, the director favours close-ups and golden hour profiles, attempting to iconise a brassy, bold character who’s a victim of the system. There’s plenty of dynamic camerawork, too, and Western musical cues reminiscent of Xavier Dolan – including Elton John and The Cure.
So it’s easy to roll with this picture, which largely plays as natural and funny. What it’s trying to say, on the other hand, is harder to pin down. Since Franco is such an unequivocal bastard, the custody drama is fairly one-note, with only a later development involving Fortunata’s psychologist lover Patrizio (Stefano Accorsi) complicating her character’s sympathies in any interesting way. There’s a lot made of her relationship with her daughter, but the kid’s a little brat, who spits and makes racial slurs. And this is perhaps connected to the cast-wide theme of parental issues – though this never really pays any satisfying dividends.
Nothing is really integrated into a dramatic or thematic template, giving the film a rambling mood that drags on for too long. And yet, for most of its running time, it’s fairly watchable – and credit where credit’s due to Trinca’s remarkable performance, interesting enough to carry it, and cinematographer Gian Filippo Corticelli, who conjures up some memorable images.
Fortunata does not have a UK release date yet.
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Watch the trailer for Fortunata here: