“Promised” (PG) **
THIS Melbourne-sited Italian family drama is the debut film written and directed by Nick Conidi with a consortium of 10 producers, of which three are members of the Conidi family.
Its fundamental proposition is that in 1953, when the fathers of then-five-year-old Robert (Daniel Berini as an adult) and newly-born Angela (Antoinette Iesue) come to marriageable age, agree that they will be married.
“Promised” doesn’t show the years between that agreement and its implementation. It spends most of its 97 minutes showing how customs inherited from its Italian heritage affected the lives of two people who grew up in the personal freedoms that characterise our Australian society, now chafing about parental insistence on fulfilling a promise that hindsight contends should never have been made.
The principal thesis of the drama is that the family honour expressed in the agreement must prevail, for the benefit and comfort not of the two people most directly concerned but for their fathers. Now, that’s a pretty tough proposition.
In 1979, Angela is enjoying a relationship with Tom (Santo Tripodi). Robert, now with a law degree from Oxford, is a friend. What befell love in a marriage stage-managed by fathers? Separate bedrooms. Angela’s choice.
The acting isn’t what drags “Promised” down. The cast does what it can to make it work. For the filmgoer, the screenplay offers little to alleviate the boredom. The clangy, thumpy soundtrack is intrusive. I came away from it concluding that the Conidi family felt compelled to tell a story to which their creative skills simply were not up to.
At Palace Electric