Picks and Pans Review: The Star Maker
In postwar Sicily a con artist (Castellitto) pretends to be a talent scout for a Roman movie studio. Hundreds of poor citizens tumble into the dusty piazzas and hand over precious lire so they can be filmed (they think it's a screen test)—and get fleeced.
The result, as directed by Cinema Paradiso's Giuseppe Tornatore, is essentially a string of reverent closeups of these poor people. We're also meant to be interested in the huckster, but Castellitto is too bilious. He seems to have been drinking his own snake oil.
This is Italy's foreign-film Oscar entry. I hope it loses. (R)