Regalo di Natale (1986)

I have to admit that I discovered this one in such a strange way. The mcguffin there was Luigi Montefiori, aka George Eastman, aka the infamous Antropophagus in D’Amato’s film.

I was wondering: no way George Eastman hasn’t done a normal film in which he doesn’t play a normal role. And I was kinda right since he had a good part in Mario Bava’s Rabid Dogs (Canni Arrabbiati) or even in Baba Yaga (Valentina’s adaptation to the big screens). Fact is that George Eastman is not your average idiot.

The guy has talent for acting and even for script-writing. And a proof of the first is Pupi Avati’s Regalo di Natale, an excellent gem that I’ll try to review.

Card-games movies tend to be a good way to rate your average actor. They require people with petrid faces and the ability to kill any expresdion out of the face.

And here you have a good group. Not only Eastman, who plays the quietest pf the bunch, but also Diego Abatuantono, in which I believe he plays one of his better roles.

4 friends reunited after years of silence for a cards’ game. A 5th one joins, an enigmatic industrial who refuses to win a single game in the whole night, suspicious enough for the movie viewer to distrust him.

Behind the game there is another game.

It’s a game of old remorses and things that happened long ago but that still poison the friendship between all of them. Abatuantono’s flashbacks melt with the reaction of others, triggered by the comments of pur Industrial loser.

It’s a weird movie, less pretentious than other efforts such as Rounders but a lot more effective into translating the mood that a poker game brings to the players.

Going back to Eastman, it really amazes me to see the man playing a role in which he is not type-casted by his physics. Great actor and really nice guy.

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