The Plot of A Better Life
The protagonist of the film A better Life is Andrea Casadei, lives in Rome, a city filmed by director Fabio del Greco in a dark black and white full of shadows. Andrea, played by Fabio del Greco himself, accepts commissioned jobs from husbands betrayed by their wives, or from mothers who want to find out what their children are doing outside the home.
But what really fascinates him about audio wiretapping is stealing people’s secrets, overhearing conversations in a bar, getting an idea of what animates people’s feelings and thoughts.
Andrea often meets his street artist friend Gigi in Piazza Navona with whom he shares a passion for wiretapping and bugs. Late at night Andrea wanders with his scooter through the streets of the city making surreal encounters like the one with an old university professor who has decided to leave his home to live in the abandoned maze of the La Sapienza university.
In search of his past, he tries to recontact some friends. But they hardly recognize him, they are projected into adult life and have no interest in meeting him. His friend nicknamed Ciccio Simpatia, on the other hand, has even disappeared: his mother tells him that one evening he went to buy cigarettes and never came back.
Andrea accompanies his friend Gigi, who is obsessed with achieving success in the entertainment world, to an audition for a film where he meets the actress Marina. A magnetic attraction is established between the two, and as the woman enters to do the audition she inserts one of her bugs into a pendant that she has left on the waiting room table.
From that moment on, Andrea’s obsession will be to intercept Marina’s words, to enter her life. It is the beginning of an investigation into the existential maze of a woman victim of corruption and the false values of the society in which we live, unable to live her feelings.
The Themes of A Better Life
Marina is a woman adrift who has lost her roots. She accepts any kind of compromise, she frequents the owner of a chain of meat restaurants, a rich and violent man nicknamed The buttero, who knows politicians and influential people and promises to make her act in major film productions.
Fabio Del Greco plays his role with total adherence to the character. Actress Chiara Pavoni is very convincing in the role of Marina, an enigmatic and mysterious character who has anesthetized her heart and no longer believes in love.
The film centers on a fundamental theme of the world we live in: the lack of love. The values touted by the mass media and Western politics are against love. They tell people that it doesn’t exist or they suggest the message that it is best avoided. On the other hand, success and external beauty, power are values that are passed off as fundamental. The mysterious and tormented figure of Marina is reflected in a gloomy and soulless Rome.
The Style of the Film
A Better Life by Fabio del Greco could be defined as an existentialist noir. But the director does not use the codes of noir to produce a copy to be distributed in the cinema market. Rather, he creates a completely personal work, he lives this experience on his own skin, with an observation style that is almost newsworthy. The film is a chronicle of the present, which confirms and strengthens the evidence of the complexity of the metropolis of film noir of the 40s.
Initially distributed in a few cinemas, the film has become a cult phenomenon through home video and streaming platforms, enjoying considerable success especially in the United States, with an audience fascinated by black and white underground films that take up the codes of the classic film noir.
The Director Speaking of A Better Life
About the film Fabio del Greco explained how his initial idea was born : “Fabio Del Greco:” One day I met a very self-confident girl with a strong character. Then, getting to know her better, I discovered that it was just a front. I thought that was what I had happened to observe in many people: a granite facade behind which there was a total insecurity. Perhaps A better life is a reflection on the art of observing, of listening, in short of what you do when you go out. from the real world to tell it. Maybe he wants to talk about the subtle relationship between the mirages of success touted by today’s society, power and the most authentic human relationships.
Shot on a very low budget. and with a very small truope, A Better Life is a independent film that makes an element of charm from its craftsmanship. The grainy black and white, the sharp shadows, the underground packaging are well connected to the metropolitan underground setting, the undergrowth of the entertainment world of the city of Rome.
In a better life, culture and value, represented by Andrea’s old professor who lives in the most hidden meanders of the University, now seems destined to go underground.
Defined by authoritative magazines as Italian Cinema one of the 5 best films of the year 2007, a better life must be seen above all because it is not a consumer film product.
It is the film of a director who uses cinema as a means of sincere and authentic expression of his life experience. Without the filters, tricks and detours of industrial cinema.