Not fade away at the 50th new york film festival


The highly anticipated David Chase’s debut movie Not Fade Away was presented at the 50th New York Film Festival and it seems that rock-and-roll is still a good way to tell a story, especially when it is semi-biographical. The story is simple. Douglas (John Magaro) is a young teenager in the 1960s, when rock-and-roll is at its zenith. Like every kid from that period, Douglas wants to be in a band and being the future Charlie Watts or Mick Jagger. His goal does not please his working-class father Pat (James Gandolfini) and we can see the teenager struggling to achieve his dream from his teenage years until his college years. Obviously love is present in the character of Grace (Bella Heathcote), a girl he was in love with since high school but whom he never had the courage to talk to before being in college. The father-son relationship will have a few bumps down the road, nevertheless the characters are always treated with just the right balance of gravity and sense of humor. “Not Fade Away is a personal film with a backdrop very important to me, a period in American music that was one of the best. To have the film debut at the NYFF exceeds my wildest dreams and the dreams of everyone associated with the movie. (…) I am honored and thrilled,” said Chase in a statement at the New York Film festival.

Music has an important place in this movie hence it is the real success of Not Fade Away. Scored by Steven Van Zandt (E Street Band guitar player! and actor in The Sopranos), Chase’s musical sequences have a deft attention to emotional rhythms that’s also true of his overall direction, which subtly intertwines guitar riffs and heated passions while suggesting confusion, elation, and turmoil through graceful camerawork. We could not be expecting other than perfection from this man.

Not Fade Away also reveals the way in which generational clashes were born from a joint fear and confusion over shifting tides that no one quite understood how to handle. People would be committed for their “beatnik” rebelliousness, like Grace’s out-of-control sister (Dominique McElligot) was. And as we can see on the poster, the whole atmosphere of the movie is resumed in the sentence “There is no past no future either. Just the now.”

Thus, this story recognizes the era’s absurdity and nastiness without forgetting the huge change the 60’s brought for the future generations and to Douglas: since it is semi-autobiographical, we already know that music is not really the path David Chase chose… Something we are glad about, after all he did create one of the best Italian-American TV show of the past twenty years!

Unfortunately, there are no release dates yet for the Italian market, but the movie will be in theaters in the USA the 21st December.

Flavia Nicolò

October, 10 2012


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