The 2021 Italian romance drama, The Last Paradiso (L’ultimo Paradiso) tells the story of forbidden love that tries to find a way amidst the fog of social injustice. The film has been written and directed by Rocco Ricciardulli. The film stars Riccardo Scamarcio who has also co-written the film. It is often said that an actor who writes his own character always reflects a deep understanding of the same. Getting a hang of the character when someone else has written becomes a totally different ball game, considering that an actor has to first align his thoughts with that of the writer. In the process, you might miss the subtexts at certain points. But when one writes their own character they understand the intricacies in a much better manner. So let’s dive start into the story.
‘The Last Paradiso’ Summary
Ciccio Paradiso (Riccardo Scamarcio) is somebody to whom people look up to. He has been known for his stout-hearted actions and he isn’t afraid of doing what’s right. It’s just that the word “right” has a convoluted meaning here. He is in love with Bianca Schettino (Gaia Bermani Amaral). She is the daughter of a domineering and autocratic landlord named Cumpà Schettino (Antonio Gerardi). But the problem is that Ciccio is already married. He says that he loves his wife but still wants to spend his life with Bianca. He stands up for the farmers and tells them to fight against these landlords. He feels that they are being oppressed by the landlords.
Everyone around Ciccio cautioned him that he was walking on thin ice. They tell him the disgrace he is going to bring to his family and the perils too that come with it. But these things never hindered his thinking or actions. Neither Ciccio nor the audience foresaw what was about to follow. It was an act that only the mere sight of it would make the people in the most infernal regions also tremble with fear.
Major Spoilers Ahead
The Open Crevices
The Last Paradiso opens many potential crevices but somehow leaves all of it halfway to tread on a path that absolves all the depth that the narrative promised to dwell into. The character of Ciccio is interesting but the writers fail to reap the fruits of the foundation laid. Everything just converges into a shallow affair. The gruesome violence sets the tone of the film and gives you a peek into a patriarchal world entrapped in male ego. The world too is created intricately. Every aspect and detail of the era are taken into consideration minutely. But as dense as the broth seems to be, it is of no use just because it is poured in a shallow container, unable to appreciate its texture.
‘The Last Paradiso’ Ending Explained
The writers had many ideas but they just failed to latch onto the best possible one. Ciccio’s brother, Antonio comes back to Italy and takes revenge for his brother’s death. Though they both are twins yet they were poles apart. Antonio just wanted to stay distant from all the politics. He just wanted to make his own life better. He didn’t care much about the societal wrong and injustice as his brother. He wants to go back after attending the funeral of his brother but he isn’t able to. For the first time, he feels his insides shifting. His father tells him to go back and never return. He too had a similar feeling when he left his village in search of a better life. But the thought of abandoning his roots yet again just didn’t feel right this time.
He just cannot overlook the adversity that his family is facing. He cannot see Bianca suffering in such a helpless manner. He kills Cumpa Schetinno, the landlord, and even his son. He ends the brutality by killing them and also symbolically puts an end to the tyrannical regime of these oppressive and exploitive individuals. He then marries Bianca who seems to find a reflection of Ciccio in his twin brother too. Not only because they were twins and had physical resemblance but also because now a part of Ciccio that couldn’t bear injustice, reflected in Antonio too. Antonio disobeyed the autocratic and exploitative power, just like his brother would have.
The Last Paradiso (L’ultimo Paradiso), with all the good and sincere intentions, fails to leave an impact. It builds an intriguing character and an original premise but leaves it midway and meanders into more shallow waters and henceforth losing out on what could have been a moving and impressive premise.
Streaming on Netflix, watch this film for the intricately recreated Italy of the 1950s.
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