Funny Family Melodrama Dished Up in ‘Inheritance Italian Style’ (Movie Review)
Inheritance Italian Style
Director, Writer, Producer: Doug Bremner
By Mike Szymanski
Think of “Inheritance Italian Style” as like a dark comedy melodrama with wacky characters, over-the-top acting, and unpredictable liaisons all set in a beautiful countryside estate. It’s enjoyable, heart-felt, ridiculous, sad, and funny.
Five sisters come together to discuss the dividing up of the family furniture well before their parents are gone in a large villa in Sicily. The countryside and the island are as much a character in this film as any of the many family members shown in the story.
The grape vines, the rural roads, the farmland and the overall scenery are all picturesque and the camera lingers over the beauty of the environment.
The complete irony is that most of the scenery was actually filmed outside Atlanta to double for the Italian countryside.
The film survives thanks to a low-budget Kickstarter campaign and after getting the movie in the can, another campaign had to be held to finish the editing. It’s a true indie project that creates the Italian illusion of Sicily using the lower budget costs in Atlanta. Unfortunately, that also leads to some Italian accents that sometimes slip into a Southern accent (of course, Sicily is in the south of Italy).
Naturally, there is a lot of infidelity, plenty of screaming, and an abundance of large family dinners where a lot of the discussions take place. Oh, and the Mafia of course. The camera lurks sometimes outside the window, as if we are spying on this great family gathering and all the secrets they hold.
The dialogue by some of the characters will make you laugh out loud. The gardener’s son, Albangzo, (played by Tim Ross) is having an affair with one of the daughters and he calls her “fig fruit” and “my beloved” as a heartsick romantic.
One of the sisters, Seconda (played by Zoe Myers), is trying desperately to get the acceptance of her parents, asking them in private why they have always favored the other girls over her.
The matriarch of the family is Mallatta, portrayed by Dawn Campion, is the expected vibrant, pushy Mama who wanted to do a “diversionary” to split up the furniture between the daughters. Her husband, the Professorre played by Michael Scimeca looks like Col. Sanders and looks like he has bird feathers for a beard.
Yes, it’s a bunch of wacky characters, including one guy who walks around calling “Chi Chi” looking for a cat that may or may not be real.
Among the most interesting characters is Tristana (played by Tori Montgomery) as the sister who didn’t go off to make a success for herself and is instead rather suicidal. The kids find her under a car, and then she tries to take too many pills, and she battles some severe depression.
Among the smartest characters are kids, two cousins, played by a handsome Dylan Bremner wearing an AC/DC shirt (also the director’s son) and Diane Shepherd. They are the two that have the most adult things to say, and their dialogue about the difference between a psychologist and psychiatrist is some of the best scripting in the film.
And that is not even half the characters. Yes, a lot of characters are in this film, but each one of them are characteristically different, so it’s not too hard to follow.
Anyone who comes from a big family will truly enjoy this bickering and sniping, and ultimately love for each other.
The music by composer James Stone is incredibly part of the entire film, and each interlude is set up by a distinctive tune, making the whole thing feel even more melodramatic, and Italian.
This movie was the official selection at both the Golden Door International Film Festival and the Jerome Indie Film & Music Festival. It’s available on Amazon, Xumo, Roku, Vimeo, Tubi, plex and other streaming channels.
Director and writer Doug Bremner teamed up with his wife Viola Vaccarino to produce the film and feed a hungry cast and crew with pesto and bolognese sauce. It’s a tasty dish that’s a fun romp to watch.