'And There Was Evening and There Was Morning': Cairo Review

And there was evening and there was morning Still - H 2014

And there was evening and there was morning Still - H 2014

It's the end of the world as we know it, but you won't feel fine

The residents of a Spanish village prepare for the end of the world in Emanuele Caruso's comedy-drama

The end of the world doesn't come soon enough in Emanuele Caruso's film, whose story begins during the annual June 25 feast of Saint Eurosia, the patron saint of the earth's harvest. Depicting the reactions of a group of residents in the village of Avila, Spain, after they learn that the planet is headed for destruction, And There Was Evening and There Was Morning squanders its provocative premise with an ineffective blending of melodrama, low comedy and shallow philosophizing. This low-budget, crowdfunded Italian film recently showcased at the Cairo International Film Festival should find rough sledding in markets outside its native country.

We learn early in the proceedings via news reports seen by the shocked villagers that the sun is going to explode in 49 days, effectively ending life on the planet. As one resident methodically marks off the remaining days on a wall, the others prepare for the end with varying degrees of anger and resignation.

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Among the figures on which the film centers are the sardonic Father Nicholas Francis ( a drolly funny Albino Marino), who has little patience for his priestly duties and is haunted by the memory of a long-ago romantic relationship; and the cynical, wisecracking Gianni (Lorenzo Pedrotti), still traumatized over a fatal accident for which he feels he bears responsibility.

The filmmaker, working from a script co-written with Marco Domenicale and Christina Cocco, fails to invest the material with sufficient dramatic urgency or comic relief. The rambling storyline consists of inconsequential interactions among the various characters for whom the end of existence doesn't seem to hold all that much emotional weight, with one of the more dramatic incidents involving little more than the vandalizing of a shop.

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Languorously paced and further dragged down by Remo Baldi's melancholic musical score, the film whose title is inspired by a verse from the Book of Genesis purports to have important issues of life and death on its mind. But even if one has all the time in the world, it would be better spent on anything other than sitting through this lugubrious effort.

Production: Moca Film
Cast: Albino Marino, Lorenzo Pedrotti, Sara Francesca Spelta, Simone Riccioni, Francesca Risoli
Director/editor: Emanuele Caruso
Screenwriters: Emanuele Caruso, Marco Domenciale, Christina Cocco
Producers: Roberta Lampugnani, Deborah Sandri, Elisa Conti, Beppe Masengo
Director of photography: Christian De Giglio
Production design: Jacopo Valsania
Composer: Remo Baldi

No rating, 109 min.