THE STATION (1990) [Feature]

Italy (MIFF 1991 )
Director: Sergio Rubini

Unapologetically indebted to its stage origins, The Station turns a three actor drama into an involving film with plenty of laughs thrown in.

Stage actor and director Sergio Rubini makes an eye-catching debut as director. Domenico (Rubini) is stationmaster of a sleeping trainstop. On one cold and rainy night, he passes the long hours comically timing everything he can think of with his chronometer, from when the trains pass to how long it takes for the coffee to perk. At a fancy party in a villa, rich girl Flavia (the sparkling Margherita Buy) quarrels with her overbearing lover Danilo (Ennio Fantastichini). She impetuously runs off to catch the next train for Rome, while he furiously watches a contract go up in smoke without her backing.

Opposites, Domenico and Flavia get acquainted during a long night of waiting for the 6am train. Their budding friendship, told with humour and tenderness, is abruptly interrupted by Danilo's drunken return. Matters take a violent turn...

Allessio Gelsini's cinematography perfectly communicates a feeling of cold warmth in the little station lost in the great stormy night. Director Rubini goes beyond conveying the tragicomic relationships among the trio, creating a charming fable poised between drama and hyperrealism. The gulf between the poor southern provincial and rich city girl gently touches on a social theme without exaggeration.

Buy shines as the sophisticated but shy heiress. Rubini is a naive and tender stationmaster, recalling the hero of Menzel's Closely Watched Trains as much as one of Ermanno Olmi's pure country hermits. Fantastichini, the arrogant, violent fiance, is enjoyable as an over-the-top villain. In The Station many will find the fresh new Italian film they've been waiting for.

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