Don't Be Bad
Non essere cattivo
The Italian submission for Best Foreign-Language Film at last year’s Academy Awards, “Don’t Be Bad” is the final work of cult director Claudio Caligari, who died of cancer before its completion. The film was shepherded to the finish line by actor Valerio Mastandrea, who starred in Caligari’s “The Scent of the Night.” A riff on themes characteristic of the great Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini, “Don’t Be Bad” also explores environs familiar from that director’s work — in particular, the downscale outer-Roman suburb of Ostia, which was not only the setting of several Pasolini films but also the location of his murder. Updating the Pasolini-style characters for the ’90s — a hedonistic time of money, luxury cars, nightclubs, cocaine, and synthetic drugs — Caligari focuses on Vittorio (Alessandro Borghi) and Cesare (Luca Marinelli), friends in their early 20s who are in a headlong search for success. The pair pays a high price for their risky ambition, and Vittorio attempts to save himself by abandoning Cesare. But the bond that unites them proves too strong to break.