Home Arts-Entertainment Movies TEA WITH MUSSOLINI



With a title like Tea with Mussolini, it's got to be good. And it looks to be just that. This film by the talented Italian Director Franco Zeffirelli is loosely based on his autobiography. As for the title, it refers to a real life event the 76-year old director remembers from his childhood.
The year is 1935 and in Italy Mussolini is still regarded as a benevolent leader, "the gentleman who makes the trains run on time." An English lady -– one of a set of English and American women who live in Florence and have established lives away from their home countries –- evidently does have an audience with the dictator, thus adding a little more panache to their already sophisticated little group.
Calling themselves "The Scorpioni," the ladies comprise two Americans, played by Lily Tomlin and Cher, (yes, Cher), and three Englishwomen, portrayed by Judi Dench, Joan Plowright and Maggie Smith. They are living in Florence to indulge their appreciation of Italian art and architecture.
However, they do get a more realistic taste of Italy when Mary, Joan Plowright, adopts Luca, a 7- year old Italian orphan, played by Charlie Lucas. Enter World War II. Lucas, now played by Baird Wallace, has joined the Italian resistance and comes home to find his surrogate mother and her friends taken into custody as enemies of Italy. As he works to free them ,we are given a unique perspective on Italy during the war years, which mirrors Zefferelli's own experience, as the fictional Luca is, of course, Zefferelli.
The film is rate PG, and opens Thursday at Caribbean Cinemas at Market Square East.


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