“IL RITORNO DI CASANOVA” captivates audiences with its masterful portrayal of a meta-narrative that skillfully intertwines the narratives of an aged director, Leo Bernardi, and an aged Casanova. Both characters grapple with their personal limitations, reflecting on the slow decline of their respective realms. Through its rich storytelling and nuanced performances, the film invites viewers to delve into the complexities of life, the interplay of past and present, and the profound impact of art on the human experience.
As a devoted aficionado of Italian cinema, I found “Il Ritorno Di Casanova” to be a truly resonant experience. Toni Servillo delivers a captivating performance as Leo Bernardi, expertly embodying his character’s overbearing ego, woe-is-me attitude, and self-absorbed narcissism. Servillo’s portrayal showcases his consummate skill as an actor, leaving a lasting impression. Fabrizio Bentivoglio’s performance as Casanova is equally remarkable, exuding gravitas and self-loathing while remaining true to the character’s nature and self-image.Among the film’s most powerful scenes is the duel between Casanova and Lieutenant Lorenzi over Marcolina, highlighting the intense emotional stakes involved. Additionally, Leo’s pursuit of Silvia outside his flat in his robe and underwear provides a poignant moment, emphasizing his desperate search for her, even though he ultimately doesn’t find her. These scenes add depth and emotional weight to the narrative, leaving a lasting impact on the audience.
Fans of Servillo and Bentivoglio will undoubtedly appreciate the nuanced performances delivered by these talented actors. The film’s exploration of existential questions, delving into the very essence and meaning of life, particularly when one’s identity becomes a mere shell of their former self, resonates deeply with viewers. Furthermore, the film rewards viewers with beautiful cinematography, as the actors are exquisitely lit, adding to the visual allure. While the film celebrates male heterosexuality within a macho society, this aspect limits its broader appeal. However, one cannot help but wonder how the narrative would have changed had Bernardi or Casanova developed romantic relationships with characters from the 2SLGBTQ+ community. Introducing such complexity and inclusivity would have enriched the film and resonated with a wider range of audiences. Venice plays a prominent role in the film, serving as both a character and a captivating backdrop for both Leo’s and Giacomo’s storylines. Director Gabriele Salvatores skillfully weaves together various visual elements, including diverse angles, out-of-focus shots, and juxtaposition of interior and exterior scenes. The clever editing and mise-en-scène create a visually appealing film that captivates the eye. Notably, the use of color for Casanova’s narrative and black and white for Bernardi’s adds depth and richness to the storytelling. The color represents imagination and artistry, while the black and white shots ground the film in reality.
The motif of romance and intimacy, seen in the relationships between Leo and Silvia, as well as Casanova and his infatuation with Marcolina, adds an additional layer of depth to the film. Sara Serraiocco and Bianca Panconi bring intensity to their respective roles, shedding light on the characters’ profound psychological and emotional strength. Furthermore, the film balances its weighty subject matter with moments of comedy and touches of slapstick humor, introducing yet another layer of complexity. As a lover of period films featuring literary characters, I desired a greater exploration of the Casanova narrative. However, I appreciated how the film culminated in Casanova’s return and Bernardi’s appearance on the runway at the Venice Film Festival, beautifully tying the threads together. Starring Toni Servillo as Leo Bernardi, Sara Serraiocco as Silvia, Fabrizio Bentivoglio as Casanova, and Bianca Panconi as Marcolina, “Il Ritorno Di Casanova” boasts a stellar cast that brings depth and authenticity to their roles. Each actor’s performance contributes to the film’s overall impact, making it an unforgettable cinematic experience.
Watch the trailer for Il Ritorno Di Casanova below