Would you take a trip to a land you never knew to connect with a long lost relative you didn’t know existed—all for the sake of your dying father’s wishes???
An adventure like this seems like it could only be from fairy tales, but one such adventuress Chicagoan took that chance for a journey of a lifetime.
My Country, directed by Giancarlo Iannotta, is a funny and touching film. Premiering in Chicago June 21st, it explores familial trust and willingness to go on any path that lays ahead. Iannotta plays “Lucky” De Luca, a native Chicagoan who takes care of his sick Italian father. On his death bed, his father admits to Lucky that he has a half-brother Francesco, and the only trace of his existence is a childhood photograph. With his father’s ashes in hand, Lucky takes on a quest to find his long-lost brother in Italy and deliver the ashes to their father’s native village.
The film is vibrant and filled with amazing scenery, subtly comparing Chicago to the Italian countryside. Beautifully created images fill the film with life. Even with a small cast and budget each character shines in their own way, bringing together this independent film into a work of art.
Brotherhood and Familial Trust
My Country explores different themes throughout the film, the most prominent of which is trust. Much of Lucky’s plan to eventually reach Molise, the region his father grew up in, is based on his brother’s trust. Francesco is at first reluctant to join him, it is insane to have a long lost younger brother, from a different country entirely. To find that brotherly trust, even when it never existed before they met, is crucial in the developments of both characters throughout the film.
Crossing Countries and Cultures
Iannotta plays around with differentiating between Chicago and Italy throughout the film, while also subtly pushing how similar the communities really are. He differentiates the two lands most simply through his art direction in both areas.
The film shines brightest in its aesthetic and colors. This is a gorgeous film, from long shots exposing the Italian countryside, to close-ups of bright lights of a Chicago theatre sign against the darkness. Chicago feels somewhat claustrophobic, with modernity and people pushing in; Italy feels free, with sprawling countryside and old yet beautiful architecture. Francesco’s little red car against the green pastures and mountains give off a really beautiful feeling.
And yet, the two countries and cultures aren’t quite that different at all. Much of the exposition of the film is based in establishing how similar Chicagoans are to Italians. People just come together and embrace each other no matter what. It plays into the theme of familial trust but even a larger sense of trust in anyone, long-lost or not. Embracing others for the sake of being good to others is a lesson anyone can take with them.
My Country is about embracing new adventures, trusting in others, and seeing that world isn’t so different after all. This film is recommended for those who appreciate films that are funny yet also touching. It's recommended for every Chicagoan with a bit of extended heritage outside of the states. Lucky De Luca learning about his roots in Italy is a teaching moment for anyone who'd like to see where they came from, and making it into the adventure of a lifetime.
Muvico Rosemont 18
9701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
Rosemont, IL 60018
June 21st, 7:30 PM, Sold Out.
Classic Cinemas - York Theatre
150 N. York St.
Elmhurst, IL 60126
June 26th, 7:00 PM
Los Feliz Theatre
1822 N. Vermont Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
July 13th, 7:30 PM
Italy screenings coming late July/early August