Amanda (a wonderful Benedetta Porcaroli) is having trouble making friends when she moves back to her family’s home in Italy after spending some time in Paris. She has no job, no boyfriend, and spends her evenings standing outside of raves pretending that she’s waiting for a friend. She’s “too busy doing nothing,” as her mother (Monica Nappo) tells her. However, when Amanda is informed that she used to hang out with a local girl named Rebecca (Galatéa Bellugi), she decides to make it her mission to rekindle the sparks of her childhood friendship.
The debut feature from writer-director Carolina Cavalli has a lot in common with its titular character. There’s a high-spirited playfulness underneath its strange façade, which serves to make this quarter-life crisis character piece the more compelling. This quality gives Cavalli’s film an oddball sense of humour that leans towards the absurd. Flies swarm the otherwise pristine family dinner table, another of Amanda’s main ambitions is to get enough points at a supermarket to get an electric fan, and jarring camera angles transform a small café into an otherworldly limbo. The filmmaker has done a superb job of shaping the peculiar bubble in which these characters inhabit. It’s a fascinating place to be that makes for entertaining viewing.
Likewise, just as Amanda aimlessly drifts through life, the film’s structure similarly moves from scene to scene, capturing the interactions Amanda has with the handful of others she meets with a carefree spirit. Moreover, each of the other players are just as lonely as Amanda. Rebecca is agoraphobic, everybody in the half-empty movie theatre she frequents weekly is there alone, and the boy she stares at from across the street has nothing else to do that night other than get some food with her.
Cavalli’s striking debut is a commentary on youth, wealth and loneliness. Amanda’s world is one that’s shaped by isolation and eccentricity, which is explored with humour and style in this curious comedy.
Amanda is released in select cinemas on Curzon Home Cinema on 2nd June 2023.
Watch the trailer for Amanda here: