Inverno (Timo’s Winter): Review

Inverno (Timo’s Winter)

Inverno (Timo’s Winter): Review. By Trent Neely.

This short film directed and co-written by Giulio Mastromauro tells the story of a family of Funfair workers: Timo, his father, his mother, grandfather, and grandmother during the winter as they work to prepare to open the fair and cope with the mother’s severe illness.

The film primarily focuses on young Timo as he is thrust into maturity and responsibility as he helps his family prepare the fair for opening, and though he may not know exactly what is going on with his mother, it is clear that he understands that it is something serious.

The most striking element of this film is how much it allows itself to breathe given its sixteen minute runtime. Mastromauro and co-writer Andrea Brusa choose not to have the characters express their strife through protracted conversations or monologues. When characters speak in the film, it is rare, short and to the point, and almost never directly references the harshness of the realities that they are facing. Instead, the film mainly rests on the power of images and physical performance. Director of Photography Sandro Chessa uses a variety of framing techniques to show the audience this family’s story. Sometimes the camera is a distant observer, other times, almost uncomfortably close as we see the toll this moment in life is taking on these characters.

All the while painting the film in an arresting, predominantly cold and desaturated palette. These long quiet visual moments are coupled with a minimalist yet beautifully melancholy score by Bruno Falanga, whose piano and strings softly help convey the emotions that the characters themselves rarely express outwardly. The small cast and sparse settings also serve to help show how much this family is carrying on its shoulders.

While the cast is small, their impact is fully felt. Particularly Christian Petaroscia as the young Timo, who fully captures the essence of a child thrust into the hardest parts of adulthood and someone who mourns the loss of childhood innocence that comes as a consequence.

The rest of the cast are also stellar, demonstrating the power of facial expressions and body language combined with framing in order to express complex emotions like fatigue, anger and sadness.

If you would like to see a film that demonstrates the power of visual storytelling and how efficient a story can be while still retaining its full emotional weight, please seek out this short, affecting piece of work. 

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