Questione di Karma (All About Karma) is a 2017 comedy by Director Eduardo Falcone showing at the Lavazza Italian Film Festival. It stars Elio Germano and Fabio De Luigi as conman Mario and rich soul Giacomo. The premise of the story is outlined in Giacomo’s private readings of an ancient Indian text concerning reincarnation, and he soon believes that the soul of his Father is now alive in somebody today.
Let’s start with Giacomo – I was going to try to think of a better term, but I think ‘learned man-baby’ works well as a general description. He’s about 40, never had a job, takes martial arts classes, Japanese language classes, reads ancient texts and is an eccentric mix of wise and cultured vs. inexperienced and sheltered. As a successful comedy actor, Germano plays the humble man well, as his character attempts to learn the name of his father’s reincarnate. This name would prove to be Mario Pitagora – who turns out to be a severely indebted conman becoming increasingly more in trouble with the people he’s conned and with his wife. Overall, Giacomo wants to spend more time with his ‘father’ to try and piece together the puzzle that’s concerned him since his father’s suicide when he was a boy. And at first, Mario hilariously indulges Giacomo’s antics of father-son bonding activities in return for the copious reimbursement provided by the rich man-baby, but as they spend more and more time with each other, a true bond is achieved and each man is changed forever.
This comedy is a great, heart-warming see; it’s entertaining and has a hilarious twist in the denouement, but I have to admit I wouldn’t see it again. The ending (I won’t spoil it, don’t worry) is extremely cheesy, and slightly incongruent with the characterisation of the rest of the film. Additionally, my friend and I were talking over the message of the film together on the bus ride home, and we came to an unsatisfying conclusion. Rich Giacomo (okay, spoilers now) ends up joining the corporate family business and begins to raise a family of his own, which doesn’t align with his character as a private and artistic soul who has only just (if even!) come to terms with his father’s life and experience and suddenly he’s ready to be a father himself? And are they trying to communicate that you’ll be happy and have a great life on the 9-5 corporate grind, as opposed to perpetuate the ‘free soul’ lifestyle that would more suit Giacomo’s character in the beginning of the film? And as Mario the indebted conman gains 150,000 Euro free of charge, it may be suggested that he reconnects with his wife and children now that he can support them… but no, he leaves them for good and goes off travelling. It’s a strange thing to say, but then again, is it really saying anything, or is Questione di Karma meant to be a light, easy comedy?
I’ll let you decide for yourself.