Caterina in the Big City
Writer/director Paolo Virzì and co-writer Francesco Bruni follow up their sly fish-out-of-water comedy My Name Is Tanino with another comedy in a similar vein, Caterina in the Big City. Giancarlo (Sergio Castellitto) is delighted when he has an opportunity to leave his provincial teaching job and drag his wife Agata (Margherita Buy) and 12-year old daughter Caterina (newcomer Alice Teghil) back to his old neighborhood in Rome. Caterina is a sweet, naïve, and pretty girl, and on her first day of school, she finds herself mocked as a hick. Her classmates are the sons and daughters of Rome's elite. Margherita's (Carolina Iaquaniello) parents are prominent intellectuals, and she leads a faction of bohemian socialist kids, while Daniella's father is a political heavyweight, and her preppy clique dresses in designer duds and espouses right-wing politics. Poor Caterina finds the two opposing factions battling over her allegiance, but every time she makes a new friend, her father fouls things up. Giancarlo, who is also an aspiring novelist, spends his evenings at home ranting about the elites and their devious, cliquish ways, but every time he's in the presence of an important person, he desperately tries to ingratiate himself and get his talents noticed. Meanwhile, he's drifting into depression and isolating himself from his wife and daughter. Caterina in the Big City was shown at New York City's Walter Reade Theater in 2004 as part of a Sergio Castellitto retrospective presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center.