Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Blu-ray Review: Me And You

Shown out of competition at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, Me And You marks Bernardo Bertolucci's comeback film after a decade out of the game. Of course, a lot has happened in this ten year absence. Bertolucci now directs from a wheelchair, and Me And You takes confinement as one of its central themes.

Making his big screen debut, Jacopo Olmo Antinori plays 14 year old Lorenzo - an acne-infested teen who lives with his mother and shuns any activity that takes him out of his comfort zone: in this case, the four walls of his room. For Lorenzo, personal space is everything and thew prospect of a school skiing trip gives him an idea. After pocketing the holiday money, Lorenzo has a key cut for the basement of their house and meticulously chooses enough provisions for seven days and seven nights spent 'underground'. Once settled, Lorenzo seems to enjoy this self-enforced isolation and constructs an ant farm, positively reveling in his time spent devoid of human contact. Then, out of the blue, his half-sister turns up. Olivia (Tea Falco) is apparently a regular visitor to the basement, and comes with a heroin addiction as part of the package.
At this point, the audience may well be expecting a coming-of-age drama where Lorenzo experiences his first sexual encounter, and Bertolucci would certainly not shy away from chronicling an incestuous relationship if that's what he felt was needed: indeed, warning shots are fired early in the film when Lorenzo pitches an end-of-world scenario to his mother which would see him impregnating her to save mankind. However, the director embarks on a different path, contrasting Lorenzo's desire to be alone with Olivia's need for a companion while she goes 'cold turkey'. At this stage of Lorenzo's life, an eleven year age gap shows the dangers awaiting him in the form of drugs and on a more human level, how relationships can be formed, blossom and disintegrate. Soon, shared memories and the occasional familial revelation take centre stage, and a rather touching bond is formed. Although me And You is open to accusations that nothing much happens, it's actually a beautifully directed miniature piece with two very impressive leads who successfully convey just how much of a challenge they face in changing their lives. One standout scene occurs during an Italian version of David Bowie's 'Space Oddity', and the song crops up again a little later; this time in its original cut as the pair hug and suggest doing it again sometime. It's a supremely uplifting moment, and when the camera's freeze-frame captures Lorenzo's smiling face, we guess that while both parties may not be capable of immediate change, one at least is on the right path.
Artificial Eye's Blu-ray presentation is presented in 1.85:1 and looks rock solid, with real depth, bags of detail and well saturated colours. The solitary extra is actually an excellent 48 minute making of documentary. This UK Blu-ray is locked to Region B.

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