Bits And Pieces

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Kaleidoscopic account of 24 hours in modern Rome.


Bits And Pieces, as its title suggests, is a kaleidoscopic slice of life which takes place over 24 hours in Rome. Made up of some 30 stories and featuring well over 100 characters, it owes more than a passing nod to Altman's dazzling ensemble piece Short Cuts. However, without the zip and raw emotional drive of Altman's movie, director Grimaldi has clearly bitten off more than he can cinematically chew.

The film's main failure lies in its inability to flesh out any of its characters or to develop its multiple strands. Though it deals in universal themes - the nature of love and relationships, the problem of finding a public telephone in working order in a major city - these are, at best, sketchily addressed. Frustratingly, the film sets up a number of intriguing scenarios, but never offers any form of resolution or conclusion. And while it cooks up a heady stew of infidelities, murders and betrayals, there's little resonance to these scenes and the film tilts towards quirkiness when it is short of ideas: a sullen boy hits his mother over the head for no apparent reason, two drivers argue over possession of a dead hare they both claim to have run over.

An accomplished Italian cast handle the at times ropey material with aplomb and there are many moments of broad comedy, but too many bits and not nearly enough satisfying pieces.