A disturbing tale of who you let into your house and life…
The Guest by Federico Olivetti is a 19:26 long film set in Italy featuring 3 characters and a gripping plot that unravels the murky chemistry spewing between them all.
Giacinto Palmarini plays the guest who has been recently bereaved of his father after a year-long sickness. Having taken care of his old man throughout the illness, Palmarini picks a random destination to probably mourn the loss whilst remaining isolated from the world in a relatively secluded location. It is here that we are introduced to the owner/mother played by Silvia Luzzi who in every way is an embodiment of an Italian woman: from her love for food to being overtly expressive and hospitable. Along comes in her daughter, a lanky adolescent who has a Lolita tone to her being. She remains the pivotal character to this film’s narrative.
Ilaria Natali who plays Orsola, the daughter, is shown to be a typical teenager, having that aimless spunk and a needless candour that she doesn’t quite realize but makes her come across as a nymphet. What follows is a dark, at times skin crawling and grotesque depiction of how the human mind can trick the individual to cross all limits of human decorum & decency.
When Orsola and her mother’s decaying relationship probably bridging from the mother’s inability to understand her growing teen-aged daughter is witnessed by an outsider, he starts using it to his advantage. When Orsola befriends the stranger out of comfort it is misconstrued by him as an invite for something more. And, when the mother innocently spills details of her daughter’s misdemeanor to the quiet, amiable guest, little does she know the role she is playing in spelling the doom of her child.
The acting is spectacular, especially by Natali who captures the mindless wonder often exhibited by adolescents so naturally that your heart almost aches for her. The way she walks, the lackadaisical attitude and the thin balance of being an innocent child and a rebel who doesn’t quite understand which way to lean is emoted so brilliantly by her, that you remain rooted to her until the very last scene. Palmarini does his best in being the passively observant, yet most dynamic character in this disturbing tale.
The Guest has very little music used; instead they’ve tried to induce everyday sounds tempered with silences to add to the tempo of the story. The direction is incisive, leaving a lot to the audiences’ discretion with clever cinematography that leaves enough room for imagination.
Watch ‘The Guest’ to find out how the human mind can devour innocence and give birth to guilt-ridden crimes.
WARNING: Contains violence, rape and death (not in graphic visuals).