'Reality' has some loose ends, but actor Aniello Arena as protagonist Luciano is a live-wire presence.
Courtesy of Oscilloscope Laboratories
The adoration of celebrity is, of course, not confined to America. Neither is the desire to become one. “Reality,” the new film from Italy’s Matteo Garrone, is ostensibly about a working-class fishmonger with delusions of making it big on a hit reality TV series, but it casts a wide net. It’s really about the ways in which celebrity worship deranges all of us. (Like Garrone’s previous movie, “Gomorrah,” it won the Grand Prix at the Cannes film festival.)
Garrone doesn’t make the mistake of turning his protagonist, Luciano (Aniello Arena), into a bland Everyman. He never loses his singularity. He’s too avid for that. A family man with a big, buzzing circle of relatives, he lives in a rundown section of Naples and runs an illegal mail-order scheme on the side.
We first see him and his brood at a wedding where he plays a cross-dressing clown, in full greasepaint, and strikes a glancing connection with the wedding host, Enzo (Raffaele Ferrante), who made it big as a contestant on the hugely popular reality TV show “Big Brother.”