Thomas Wolfe wrote that you can't go home again — and for Luigi, the main character in La Terra, why even bother? Home, for the classy Milan professor, is a small town in southern Italy, chock full o' intrigue, corruption, and dysfunction. When Luigi travels to his hometown to sign a contract to sell his father's land, all of the family's secrets emerge — and a few new ones are born — as director Sergio Rubini takes us on a Hitchcockian ride through modern-day Italy. The landscape is sun-soaked, the centuries-old buildings gorgeous. But the residents — well, let's just say they would give Michael Corleone a run for his money. Brother Michele is a local politician, and owes money to Tonino, the town's loan shark, a character so deliciously greasy he practically oozes off the screen. Aldo, another brother — the illegitimate one — is a hardscrabble farmer who just happens to be sleeping with Tonino's mistress. The youngest brother, Mario, is a churchgoer with a tramp of a girlfriend. When Tonino is murdered in a scene reminiscent of The Godfather, it's anybody's guess who pulled the trigger. La Terra will show at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Regal Cinemas South Beach, as the opening-night flick of the Italian Film Festival. The movie will show again at 5:30 p.m. at the same theater Saturday, October 6.
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