Autumn | Chicago Reader

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Costanza is working on a story for a writing competition, barely aware that the alienation and paranoia of the fictional character she's creating reflect her own. Writer-director Nina di Majo, who plays her, is obviously more conscious of the degree to which she resembles her protagonist—a sympathetic yet pathetic Neapolitan. When she isn't writing or picking fights with her exasperated boyfriend—once behaving just like the character Woody Allen plays in Annie Hall—Costanza listens to the frustrations of her aunt, who's met a new man but seems hopelessly obsessed with her estranged husband. A young neighbor, whose father's money oppresses him as much as his mother's cruelty, has visions of escape but lacks the nerve to carry them out. Nearly every character in this narrative is trapped in irony—if not dark, claustrophobic interiors—and few of them enjoy more than a carefree moment before returning to their worries. Their plight is not, to di Majo's credit, entirely reduced to the existential dilemma of the bourgeois intellectual, and would be funny if it weren't so realistic. 95 min.

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