Starring Fab Filippo and John Cassini. In English and Italian with English subtitles. Rating not available.
When you think of Italians meeting socially, the first thing you picture is food. Then you consider the wine, and there should be arguments and kissing, probably both. All of the above is found in the Toronto ristorante where The Resurrection of Tony Gitone mostly takes place.
Director Jerry Ciccoritti designed the film as a showpiece for his excellent cast. And aside from the slight premise that brings them to this particular convergence (the screenplay is credited to Ciccoritti and two others), the tale is limited to what they brought to a roughly assembled story line. The results depend mostly on what any given personality brings to the moment. Fortunately, that’s enough to make you want to stick around for dessert.
The film’s big night at Il Gatto Nero (a real place, by the way) happens because local actor Nino (Fab Filippo) is back from Hollywood, basking in the glow of his minor success and his major girlfriend, a top Spanish actor (Paula Rivera). This new twosome is having a silent tug of war that’s missed by the others, who are all acting on long-standing grudges, resentments, and obligations.
The most pressing dilemma is faced by a contractor (Vancouver’s John Cassini) who thinks his wife is having an affair and a newly failed restaurateur (Louis Di Bianco) who lambastes both the Gatto owner (Tony Nardi) and the group’s richest member, a real-estate tycoon (Alvaro D’Antonio), while whining for help. Among others, there’s also a chef (Tony Nappo) with a criminal past, and another film veteran (Nick Mancuso), Vince, who is recovering from heart surgery and still smarting from the time he turned down the chance to direct Rambo.
The ending, like some other plot turns, feels thinly conceived. But as found in the group’s shrine to the absent title character, sustaining myths are crucial in Tony Gitone.