About Astrid, a teenager looking for herself

About Astrid: the director of the film

Among the names to be taken into greater consideration within the indie cinema scene, there is undoubtedly that of Federico Mattioni, a young filmmaker, who – with an important experience in the world of short films behind him – in 2016 made to his first work: About Astrid .

A first work, this one, particularly courageous (not only for the subject matter) and of great emotional impact, which, despite being a debut, reveals a remarkable mastery of the cinematographic medium, combined with a good awareness from the point of artistic view. But let’s go step by step.

The film develops on two space-time planes, both necessary to tell the story of the eighteen-year-old Astrid (Nika Perrone), of her suddenly finding herself part of the world of adults, of her estrangement from her parents’ home and, finally, about her (not easy) inner journey that will lead her to a new discovery of herself and her place in the world.

Astrid’s double life

In staging this, in fact, two space-time levels: one concerning the past and the dream sphere, the other concerning mainly the present and reality. And in both of them there is her: an Astrid now serene now disoriented, to the point of even feeling desperate (particularly impactful, in this regard, the moment in which the director, in a fixed camera, shows us the girl in tears while she almost with difficulty finishing his sandwich).

An Astrid who, often and willingly, has the impression of having lost everything, but who, unexpectedly, sees a series of “helpers” coming to meet her almost exclusively with the intention of giving her a smile. Whether they are a mime met on the street or a guy who is passionate about Keats who decides to sit on his own bench in the park.

And then there’s her: the Eternal City. A Rome as great as it is fascinating, but also very, very difficult to live. The young Astrid, once away from home, launches into her exploration apparently without a final destination and, in exploring the city in which she has always lived, but which in reality she has never really known, she also explores herself and his restless inner world.

A complex and layered script.

A complex and layered script (created by Mattioni himself). In spite of everything, however – and, above all, despite the reduced budget with which this work was carried out – this complexity is well managed, without ever giving the impression that we wanted to overdo it, but, on the contrary, by staging a interiority absolutely not easy to describe in pictures.

And the images, with their photographed attention to detail, are the real strength of the entire work: if, in fact, the scenes in which color is used (with a deliberately burned light) remind us Terrence Malick, as regards the moments in black and white (complete with dreamlike scenes and characters that seem to come out of a storybook) we cannot help but think of Federico Fellini and all his rich imagery.

All this, of course, converges in a unique independent film of its kind, which bodes well for further nice surprises from a young filmmaker who still has a lot and a lot to say. From the parts of Astrid in streaming is available exclusively on Indiecinema.

Marina Pavido

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