L’Altra Italia, cofounded by ICFF(Italin Contemporary Film Festival) Artistic Director Cristiano de Florentiis, was started in 2002 and hosts an ongoing monthly screening series of acclaimed Italian films. This month, Luca Lucini‘s delightful comedy ” Nemiche Per La Pelle” was shown at Toronto’s TIFF Lightbox to a full audience. The film stars Margherita Buy as Lucia and
Claudia Gerini as Fabiola. Buy also cowrote the film.

Lucia and Fabiola are two women whose lives are bound together by their love for Paul and their hatred for each other. Lucia was married to Paul for 12 years until the over the top Fabiola “stole” him away from her. Lucia remained close to Paul even after Fabiola married him. One afternoon, both women are told by Paul to meet him at the same designated place. Both women wait for hours and Paul never arrives. They quickly learn that Paul has passed away and Fabiola, as his widow, is determined to have her way regarding the funeral arrangements. Paul’s lawyer Stefano then arranges for both women to be present when he breaks the news regarding their inheritance. Their beloved Paul had a child with his Chinese girlfriend who was also deceased and Paul had asked for both women to take care of this 7-year-old named Paulo. Fabiola suddenly realizes that Paul had cheated on her during their marriage and is distraught.

Neither Lucia nor Fabiola wants to be a mother. Lucia is devoted to her practice as a pet psychologist and to the memory of her recently deceased dog Gino. Lucia is earthy and neurotic and is reluctant to have her artist boyfriend Giacomo move in with her. Fabiola is a tough talking real estate agent who loves her luxury lifestyle (including getting snail skin treatments) and barking orders at all her staff. However, neither women want the other to succeed in the battle, so they reluctantly decide to share custody of Paulo. Fabiola learns that she could lose having her inherited wealth to little Paulo, so she secretly conspires to find a relative in China to ship him off to.

Lucia and Fabiola have vastly different parenting styles. Lucia shows Paulo how to have values while Fabiola spoils him with extravagant gifts. Paulo is a bright little boy, and he soon wins the hearts of both Lucia and Fabiola. The two women soon fall in love with Paulo and learn to respect each other as mothers and even become friends. When Paulo is suddenly taken away from their custody, they team up to “kidnap” him from the Catholic school and bring him back home to them. Much to their dismay, they get caught and have to face the judge who will determine which woman is the best-suited parent for Paulo.

Nemiche Per La Pelle is a very enjoyable film. There were lots of funny scenes in the movie and very touching moments as we learn that each woman has their own pain and reasons for their actions. Fabiola had to become tough to compensate for her neglectful father (who delivers the snails weekly to her). Lucia was stuck with her boyfriend Giacomo who was irresponsible and she found it draining to constantly have to mother him.

In the end, Fabiola is given full custody of Paulo and gives Lucia regular visitation. The two former enemies finally make peace with each other.

  Before the screening, there was a reception at Maison Mercer with catering provided by Fieramosca, Pizza Nova, and Nespresso. Guests enjoyed pizza, pasta, salad and Italian cookies .

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