The Consequences of Love

A great article on the film here highlighting something I didn't quite latch onto when watching: how adolescent the 50-year-old is - holed up in his room, lonely and estranged from everyone around him. It's the kind of shyness that manifests as icy cool, a self-deceiving detachment from frivolity, fun or anything recognisably human.

There's a gentle mockery laced into the portrayal of Titta, an archness underlying his self-contained, silent movements and habits. Part of this is captured by his treatise on bluffing, which insists you have to hold your nerve despite the risk looking ridiculous. But it is brought out best in a throwaway shot of him observing a man walking down the street, being distracted by a beautiful woman and running into a lamp-post, which is a snappy metaphor for Titta's own story arc. At one point, Titta scribbles a note to self (how teenage is that!) to beware "the consequences of love". The film then charts the awakening of fraternal and romantic affection and how that makes his solitary life unbearable.

Indeed, there's an almost lapsed Catholic feel to the film - not only in the extravagance of the mafia court assembled at the trial of Titta, but the very modern crucifixion staged at the end. Admittedly none of this is raised during the director's interview on the DVD, perhaps it's an unconscious inheritance from his love of Scorsese (he talks about American gangster movies a great deal). Nevertheless, it remains the case that Titta dies to redeem (financially) the bankrupt couple he embarrassed at cards, and in the process redeems himself morally as well, shedding the wife's verdict that he is evil. It's exactly the kind of grand death the husband desired for himself, and is also the kind of frivolity Titta was so suspicious of at the beginning of the film.

The money is likely to be gambled away again - we are all incorrigible sinners after all. But we can hope to be saved by the kinds of martyrdoms we perform out of love.

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