Rose Island review – Netflix micronation comedy short on eccentricity | Film

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This lightweight Italian comedy-drama is a story from the strange-but-true archives; in 1968, young engineer Giorgio Rosa built an island half a kilometre off the coast of Rimini out of steel, which looked a bit like an oil rig. Exploiting a loophole in the law, he positioned his construction just outside of Italian jurisdiction in international waters and declared it an independent state. The movie is an affectionate tribute to Rosa: silly and watchable enough, but short on laughs.

Casting 40-year-old Elio Germano is pushing it a bit to play freshly qualified engineer Rosa, an eccentric dreamer who drives around in a funny little car he made at college (using his granny’s sofa as the front seat). His ex-girlfriend is sick of his harebrained schemes and is marrying someone else. So heartsick Rosa, with his buddy Maurizio (Leonardo Lidi), whose dad handily owns a shipyard, cooks up a plan to build the island. The two men pick up a few waifs – a castaway, a pregnant barmaid and a German club promoter who turns their bolthole into a party island. Suddenly, flotillas of groovy kids are arriving on speedboats to party (though it all looks pretty tame).

You wait for anything much to happen. The island becomes tabloid news, bumping the Vietnam war and student protests off the front pages. The entire country is gripped by the story. But the government is not amused – and when the interior ministry unleashes the full force of its might, Rosa appeals to the UN for protection for his island. Though really the film has nothing to say about rebellion or even about what drives Rosa for that matter, wrapping the story up into a bogus romance as he quixotically attempts to win back the girl. Archive footage of students on the streets in Paris is as close as you’ll get to the spirit of the 60s.

Rose Island is released on 9 December on Netflix.

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Source: The Guardian
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