From the Vine
A new tale in the “drop everything and follow your dreams” canon of feel-good cinema, Sean Cisterna’s From the Vine affords its easygoing personality through the central casting of Joe Pantoliano. In a role that requires a balance of feeling exasperated yet excited about life, the charismatic character actor reminds us why his screen presence is always vital.
He plays the role of Mark Gentile, an automobile exec who has spent so long chasing the immigrant dream that he’s never really thought about connecting to his roots. In a surprise decision, he decides to quit his cushy job and informs his wife Marina (Wendy Crewson) that he intends to travel back to his childhood village of Acerenza in Italy in an effort to reclaim his grandfather’s vineyard. Ever the level-headed one, Marina knows she and their daughter Laura (Paula Brancati) can’t just abandon their responsibilities as working adults at the drop of a hat. The protagonist takes the open-ended flight to Southern Europe anyway and several arguments ensue between the trio throughout this turn of events.
What’s nice about this pleasant travelogue journey through rural Italy is that it could have been a culture-clash comedy that tried to mine jokes out of the situation but, instead, the humour comes from the characters and their attempts to support Mark’s practise of winemaking. Consequently, the emotional arc of his rediscovery of life is more meaningfully concluded.
It’s all a bit slight and forgettable but smaller fare like this is important to the ecosystem of cinema and is sometimes preferable, depending on one’s mood. Whilst it doesn’t totally sell to the audience on all the heavy-handed domestic drama and the odd sprinkles of magical realism (for some reason, there are leaves that voice wisdom in Mark’s ear), From the Vine offers the same light refreshment as a cool glass of Riesling on a relaxed afternoon, largely thanks to its lovely leading star and the infinite visual appeal of Potenza.
From the Vine is released digitally on demand on 10th September 2021.
Watch the trailer for From the Vine here: