“Jack Frusciante Has Left the Band” (Movie)

Title: Jack Frusciante Has Left the Band

Release: 1996

Director: Enza Negroni

Adapted from the book: “Jack Frusciante Has Left the Band” by Enrico Brizzi

Language: Italian

Stars: Stefano Accorsi (Alex), Violante Placido (Adelaide), Alessandro Zamattio (Martino)

Plot: Jack Frusciante Has Left the Band tells the story of the relationship between Alex, a 17-year-old rebel, and Aidi, a girl who enters his life out of the blue one Sunday with a phone call. She asks about a poetry book and they end up talking about their projects and aspirations. Before they part she kisses him on the cheek. Alex falls for her, and later asks her to be his girlfriend. She begins behaving increasingly coldly to him until she states that she doesn’t want any relationship because she’ll be leaving for the States the following year and doesn’t want to be in a long-distance relationship.

Alex accepts her decision. Nonetheless, they maintain a relationship that, though not full-blown love, is stronger than mere friendship. Meanwhile, Alex takes a position in opposition to bourgeois society, rejecting the commonplace life that everyone expects him to be leading in the future (“a car, two children, a wife and a business consultant”) and befriending Martino, the son of a rich family but an “outcast” like Alex himself. (from Wikipedia)

I write this review starting with a premise: when I watch a movie based on a book I never expect the exact adaptation of the book. This is my peculiar trait that a lot of people don’t share; this is maybe due to the fact that I studied and wrote screenplays and I love how the director interprets something that someone else wrote. So this is why I like when a screenwriter gives a new perspective of a book the author wrote. I think that different mindsets give more shades and facet of the same work, but I realize that normally people don’t like this kind of reinterpretation. Reading the book you fall in love with the characters and what happen to them: when details change you feel somehow betrayed.

The movie I’m going to talk, falls exactly into this scenario: “Jack Frusciante Has Left the Band” is a bit different from the book but it doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. Actually, I loved it in the same way I loved the book. It took a place in my heart hammering emotions that make me still shiver after twenty years.

I loved Stefano Accorsi playing Alex, because he was able to show through the complexity of a seventeen years old and his tormented life between school, his first love and friends. I liked Violante Placido playing Adelaide with her dreaming vibe, scared because of her feelings and the future changing before her eyes. Alex’s friends, his classmates that were also his bandmates, were perfect: I think that they were the exact reincarnation of my classmates and, for me, it was love at first sight. They were real, sincere and passionate.

The character I most loved, however, was Martino: Alessandro Zamattio was perfect recreating that sad and mournful vibe that in the book teared my heart apart. Martino was alone, let down from the life and from people that surrounded him and he found comfort in a new friend, Alex. He was a fragile person that couldn’t deal with his demons and broke under the weight of a life he couldn’t handle anymore. Alessandro gave him such a real interpretation that, for me, the Martino I knew from the book will always have his face.

The story pictures Alex’s life, his relationship with Adelaide and his old and new friends. It talks about his hopes, defeats, a slice of a teenager’s life that have no idea about what to do when he grows up but knows exactly how he doesn’t want to be: like his parents. This is a movie that talks about the gap between two generations and about the challenge of growing up in a sanctimonious society where labels define how you are. You can’t escape it if you are different. Yes, it was 1996 but this problem was already there, there just wasn’t Facebook to remind us that, gibbeting someone worldwide.

The ones that criticize this movie say that it was superficial compared to the book, that there weren’t all the shades that you can have on paper. I disagree with that, it gave a picture of Alex’s life and it was believable; watching that movie I relived my Sundays with my family with a brutality that almost knocked me out. The only objection I could have for this movie is that they didn’t explain the title “Jack Frusciante Has Left the Band”, In the book is explained and I would have liked it contextualized with a line or two.

Another thing that I loved of the movie was the soundtrack, perfect and consistent for that period. Marlene Kuntz, C.S.I. and Faith No More dragged the audience into those epic rides on top of the hill.

I definitely suggest this movie to everyone that miss a love story and a friendship that tastes like family and home.

Reviewed by Erika

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