Nuovo Olimpo (2023)

Nuovo Olimpo (2023)

A lost love LGBTQ+ drama that doesn’t dive into its potent themes

6.5

Movie

Italy
Italian
Drama, Romance
2023
FERZAN ÖZPETEK
Aglaia Mora, Andrea Di Luigi, Aurora Giovinazzo
112 min

TLDR

I really wanted to like this, but there’s just something off with its execution. I can’t help but mourn the film this could have been.

What it's about

In 1970s Rome, an aspiring film director and a shy medical student bump into each other in the movie theater Nuovo Olimpo. They fall madly in love, but they get separated. For 30 years, they cling to the hope of finding each other again.

The take

Nuovo Olimpo is stunning, atmospheric, and the very concept of the film – where lost love intersects with Italian cinema – is an interesting one. Starting the film’s relationship at a specific movie theater feels reminiscent of Cinema Paradiso, especially as Enea’s path mirrors Salvatore becoming a famous director. However, the film doesn’t really dive deep into this concept, nor does it add much to say with its gay romance. There’s something here about the relationship between the creator and the viewer that is undeniably interlinked, and there’s a hope that they can meet in the middle. But when the film doesn’t care about the couple’s individual paths, there are times it feels like it’s just going through the motions.

What stands out

Spoilers ahead! Nuovo Olimpo’s concept is inherently interesting. With the way this lost love has influenced Enea in his works, part of the lovers’ yearning feels satisfied because they still think about each other, that they made a permanent mark in each other’s lives. However, there are scenes that feel contradictory to this. An example is Enea, at the height of his fame, comes out as a gay man. This scene feels strange, because, given its context in the 90s, it feels like this moment should be groundbreaking, majestic, and liberating. But because we’re drawn into this scene from Pietro’s perspective, it feels tragic because the focus isn’t on his coming out, it’s that Enea fell in love with someone else. Scenes like this prioritize their romance over its themes, and it becomes self-defeating because it makes the two seem more selfish than truly in love.

Comments

They are not selfish.

They are not selfish.
And, maybe they’re not truly in love.
They’re lives evolved and they’re dealing with it unselfishly.
I loved this movie.

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