Stuck at the station

November 13, 1991

La Stazione
Directed by Sergio Rubini
With Sergio Rubini, Ennio Fantastichini and Margherita Buy
Reviewed by Kim Spurway

This is yet another tale of the princess and the pauper, and of two men fighting for one woman Domenico (Sergio Rubini) is stationmaster at an isolated station in the south of Italy. He passes his time between trains by learning German and by timing the small things that occur — how long the coffee takes to boil or how long it takes for a log to burn.

Enter Flavia (Margherita Buy), a glamorous, beautiful and very rich woman escaping from her boyfriend Danilo (Ennio Fantastichini). He is a violent and ambitious man who enters into a shady deal and needs her to help him clinch it.

Flavia has run away from a fabulous party at the luxury villa nearby and wants to catch a train as soon as possible to get away from her boyfriend. The next train doesn't arrive till the next morning, and she has to spend the night in the station with Domenico.

2>Danilo, determined that she isn't going to jeopardise his business deal, tracks her to the station. There follows a violent battle for possession of Flavia. Domenico wins and, just as the train for Rome pulls in, he confesses he has fallen in love with her. But he puts her on the train because he realises that things would never work between them.0>

The film is Sergio Rubini's debut as actor-director, and he is excellent as the soulful stationmaster. All the performances are well rounded and believable, the script at times quite funny and the cinematography beautiful.

Unfortunately, the film lacked substance and treated old themes in an unoriginal and uninspiring way. The woman, for example, was totally ineffectual in the fight between Danilo and Domenico and was the focus of considerable voyeuristic play by the camera.

It hardly requires an avant-garde film maker to portray women as just pretty bodies to defended by heroic men. I'd give this film three out of 10: like Flavia, it's pretty but lacking in depth. n

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