The Best Man

During her wedding a woman pressured by her parents to marry for money falls in love with the best man, reputed to have made millions in America before returning to the small Italian town where he’d once been employed by the groom’s family. Though he and the bride are the main characters in this drama about class consciousness and romantic love, the yearnings and frustrations of an eccentric aunt and other characters enable the bride’s discovery of love–something she’s been encouraged to believe exists only in romance novels–to symbolically redress a generation of emotional suffering in the town. This down-to-earth fairy tale, set on New Year’s Eve 1899, tinges the mundane with magic even as it tempers that magic with the sobering authenticity of the characters’ feelings of obligation and fears of disappointment. Written and directed by Pupi Avati. Fine Arts.

–Lisa Alspector

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.