Primo Amore | Chicago Reader

Primo Amore

A woman on a blind date (Michela Cescon) is immediately criticized by her companion (a memorably creepy Vitaliano Trevisan) for not being thinner; she tries to leave, but he insists on a drink and she reluctantly consents. The opening scene of this 2004 Italian drama sets the tone for a low-key study of power and obsession as the couple descend into a sadomasochistic relationship. Director Matteo Garrone (The Embalmer) shows great finesse in depicting the man's ever-growing control of the woman's dress and diet, yet the allusions to vampirism (specifically Murnau's Nosferatu) aren't developed enough, and the shadowy environment is increasingly stifling. In Italian with subtitles. 97 min.

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