Big Screen Streaming
“La Vita Rosa”
-Film reviewed by Roger Market–
Director Anton Iversen’s short film “La vita rosa” doesn’t waste a single one of its nineteen minutes. It opens on a young couple walking hand in hand, toward the viewer, traversing a sidewalk so densely lined with trees that it appears to be a tunnel. Just six seconds in, the film’s conflict takes shape. The woman stops walking, rips her arm away from her boyfriend, and flings both fists toward the ground. Suddenly, the tree tunnel they’re walking through provokes a feeling of claustrophobia and perhaps even embarrassment, beautifully captured by the wide angle opening shot.
The young woman is shouting, although her words are inaudible. The faint sounds of cars in the distance and birds chirping now give way to a haunting score layered with playful, almost childlike vocalizing. It’s an awkward, public breakup that sees the young woman unchain her bicycle and ride off through a previously imperceptible gap in the trees, literally disappearing before the viewer’s eyes. The young man, Marc, shifts back and forth, trying to decide where to go from here.
When next we see him, a broken Marc is reconnecting with an old friend. Nicolas is a painter, a romantic fascinated by the ease with which a person can change identities. “Imagine having a bunch of different masks,” he says. “A lot of different faces to put on. Then you can achieve anything! But if you only have this one single mask. Then you won’t go very far!” This idea reveals itself to be the theme of the film, and from this point forward, viewers can’t help but see how every character has one public persona at any given time, and only the brave are willing to change it at will. For Marc, putting on a different mask as the occasion calls for it does not seem to be in his nature. Enter Dianna, Nicolas’s current girlfriend, who slowly changes everything.
The principle cast—Peter Hald as Marc, Youssef Wayne Hvidtfeldt as Nicolas, and Emma Silja Sångren as Dianna—are all skilled, nuanced up-and-comers. Most importantly, they are electric together and thus perfectly suited for their roles. Chemistry is key in this character-driven film, as the main characters must navigate subtle and eventually rapid shifts in their relationships over the course of a single night. Hald’s portrayal of Marc is thoughtful with the perfect amount of reluctance, and the slow-burning transformation his character undergoes is both authentic and beautiful to watch. Likewise, Hvidtfeldt imbues Nicolas with a playful, inquisitive, loving soul, unafraid to cross new boundaries and take a hard, unexpected left on a mere whim. He’s comfortable with who he is, even if who he is changes from time to time, which is quite sexy and perhaps the magnet that draws Dianna to him. And then there’s Dianna herself. Sångren is fabulous in this role, and it’s important to mention she’s multi-talented as well. One moment, Dianna is the sweet newcomer to the trio, playing somewhere in the space between shy and self-assured, and the next, she’s releasing all her inhibitions, belting out a song in her native Italian from the roof of an empty building.
While early moments in the film may lead viewers to a couple of potential conclusions about the outcome, this viewer must say that he was genuinely and pleasantly surprised by what actually happens. The tension escalates quickly in the last act, and like any good movie, “La vita rosa” keeps the viewer guessing until the last second, when the characters, not the almighty script, decide how things will turn out and, of course, who they intend to be for the next indefinable amount of time. It’s a wonderful execution of the film’s theme.
In the end, although “La vita rosa” dares the viewer to make judgments, the characters themselves aren’t particularly bothered to do the same. Well, at least the ones who are willing to switch masks. They’re living in the moment, enjoying the adventure that comes with each change. For Marc, it’s clear that his adventure is still in its infancy, but a transition has indeed begun.
Roger Market is originally from Montezuma, Indiana. He graduated from Wabash College in 2009 with a BA in English and a minor in history. He received his MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts in 2013 from the University of Baltimore, and his book Life on Other Moons is the result of that study. He is a writer, an editor, a photographer, a graphic designer, a TV junkie, a lover, and a friend, and he dreams of writing for TV one day. He is enamored with technology. If time travel were possible, his first stop would by July 20, 1969, to experience the first lunar landing—one of the single greatest moments of American history. You can like Roger on Facebook or follow him on Twitter. You can also circle him on Google+.