“Loose Cannons” (“Mine vaganti”)
Telling the Family?
I am almost always entertained by films from Ferran Ozpetek and in “Loose Cannons” we see he still has a few surprises up his sleeve. This is the story of Tommaso Cantone (Ricardo Scamarcio) who, with his brother Antonio (Alessandro Preziosi) is about to take over his father’s pasta business. Tommaso is living in Rome which would mean that he would have to return to Lecce in southern Italy. He is a writer now and determined to live his own life. He tells Antonio that he plans to come out to his family at an important family occasion that evening. His brother double-crosses him and announces, before Tommaso himself has the chance, that he is gay and this seems to be the most serious case of filial disloyalty in this family. What ensues appears to be great comedy with tableware breaking and looks of disbelief but then, Vincenzo, the father, after banishing his son, suffers a heart attack. This compels Tommaso to stay in the closet for his father’s health and well-being and take over the factory. Now he has to pretend to be the straight and obliging son as his parents are ashamed of Antonio’s homosexuality.
Father Vincenzo is sure that he has become an object of ridicule in the town and cries to his mistress. Mother Stefania (Lunetta Savino) seeks her own revenge and uses insults freely. While there are some rude and crass remarks made about homosexuality, there is nothing really offensive here. In the second half of the film, Tommaso’s boyfriend, Marco (Carmine Recano) comes to town with three very gay friends who have the ability to ruin everything for Tommaso.
Tommaso is extremely good looking and he manages to remain calm during all of the craziness around him. We actually see his family as he sees it—his parents dote and are overbearing and other members are a bit strange and we readily see why he moved to Rome.
The film is a bit confusing at first but as soon as things get moving, after Antonio’s announcement, things settle down. Family secrets are exposed and we realize that the film deals with living life on one’s own terms and not as others tell one to do. This is handled through the use of emotion, drama and humor. We also realize that the real power in the family belongs to Tommaso’s grandmother (Ilaria Occhini) and she knows all. However, it is Scamarcio as Tommaso who owns this film. His face shows almost every possible emotion. We are uplifted by what we see and this is difficult to do when we see that each characters has a secret—unrequited love, betrayal, unfulfilled ambition, alcoholism, a death wish, etc. It is a fun way to learn about Italian traditions and sexuality.