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ICFF 2018 Review: “The Place” (2017) ★★★★★


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We, the people, always want something. But do we get what our heart desires? This is where the problems begin. Some people who we care about might be sick. Some are willing to pay the ultimate price to be cured from blindness, have their son recover from cancer, become an evil person to kill innocent people if that can help an elderly person free from Alzheimers. The question is, do we have someone who will be there to listen to us, go through our most dangerous thoughts and help us find the most important thing – our true self? Well, if that’s what you need, then “The Place” is the right place for you to visit as it will have all the answers you need, if not provide the medicine you need to realize how beautiful life is no matter what.

An original story by Christopher Kubasik made for TV called, “The Booth at the End” and adapted for the Italian audience by Paolo Genovese, “The Place” follows a mysterious man who grants random people’s wishes if they stick to the task assigned by him. The rules are simple – you do what you were told and get what you want. If you don’t, your wish will remain as a dream. No rules can be changed under no circumstances no matter how harsh, inhumane and dreadful it can be.

We never know the man we are introduced to in the beginning; he eats but does not seem to sleep at all. Day and night he always sits in the same place at the end of a diner called “The Place”. An elderly woman wants her husband to return home and start remembering her. The man says, “It’s doable. But before you greet your spouse back home, you will have to set off a bomb and kill people. Where, it’s up to you.” The desperate woman promises to do it before leaving the place. Another man is dreaming of a model whose picture he has hung on the wall of his garage. Another man is willing to kill for his son to get cured from cancer. The nun who lost her faith wants to start loving God again, but for that to happen, she will have to get pregnant, tells the man.

All these crazy and truly profound assignments are set in a way for everyone to find themselves in one circle. While one is asked to kill, another one is there to prevent the killing from happening. While no one knows about others, their life interconnects through one man whose simple duty is to help them find the happiness they’ve lost in their hearts. As far as we know, he never gets paid for his advice and all that he has is a magical notebook and a deeply profound look that makes all the people share with him their most intimate wishes.

The story itself is absolutely outstanding and heartwarming, it provokes deep discussions and makes you feel good about everything that happens around. It helps to start loving ourselves, appreciate who we are, and explains why no steps are necessarily required to look special when we all already are in our own ways. In this film each character faces their fear, greatest threat and are able to identify within themselves the quality called human dignity and compassion.

In conclusion, Paolo Genovese’s “The Place” is a truly remarkable piece that will make every viewer feel comfortable, relaxed and trusted as if it was one little paradise where everything impossible becomes possible. At the end of the day there is one question we all can ask: do we have to travel the extra mile to achieve what has always been near us? Of course, it’s doable. But sometimes one step is much more important than anything else, and all that we need is the courage to go for it in combination with fate and hope, which is another crucial asset we all need to have to carry on with our daily life.

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