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REALITY (Not Rated)

English with English subtitles

Director Matteo Garrone scored a huge international hit with 2008's blood-drenched mafia drama Gomorrah—which made him a national hero, but also led to his needing police protection. His next film, Reality, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Festival, is a big change of pace: much lighter in tone although still sharply perceptive. Luciano (newcomer Aniello Arena) is a charismatic Neapolitan fishmonger who supplements his meager income by pulling off little scams with the help of his wife Maria (Loredana Simioli). A likable, entertaining guy, Luciano never misses an opportunity to perform for his customers and his countless relatives. They urge him to apply to the popular TV reality show "Big Brother" and he embraces the idea whole-heartedly, sure it will change his life. Soon everything else is taking a backseat to his more and more extreme efforts to attract the attention of the "Big Brother" judges. When he is called to Rome's famed Cinecitta Studio for an audition, Luciano is sure his dreams have come true. Veering into Fellini-esque surrealism, Reality becomes a fascinating portrait of the lack of values in modern Italian society; at times hilarious, the film is also thought-provoking and profound.