Veloce come il vento (Italian Race) (2016) [San Diego Italian Film Festival 2017]

A young race car driver loses her father suddenly. Having no mother in the picture, she becomes in charge of her younger brother when their older brother, an addict and ex-racer himself, becomes their legal guardian.

Based on a story by Matteo Rovere who co-wrote the screenplay with Filippo Gravino and Francesca Manieri and also directed, Veloce come il vento is a touching family drama with a hopeful outlook on things. The film throws many curve balls at lead Giulia as she is trying to win in car racing, but nothing is going to stop her from winning and keeping her family together. The film has its ups and downs and it works well on all fronts. The balance of good moments versus sad moments creates a dynamic storyline and gives plenty for the characters to bond over. The film makes good use of the drama and the few comedic moments and builds itself towards an end that is a touch sad, but also perfect.

Playing the lead of Giulia is Matilda De Angelis who has the screen presence and talent of an established lead actress. Here she gives a strong, yet vulnerable performance. Her performance anchors the film and the other characters around her, making her the most important performer in the cast. Playing her older brother is actor Stefano Accorsi giving a performance that is good and shows the right amount of talent, but his performance is not quite on par with De Angelis. He’s good, but in a few spots here and there, he feels a bit off. This may be due to how the character is written, how he was directed, or his personal creative choices. The character is an annoyance at first and he does get the best growth of the bunch, but he’s still a bit of an annoyance in the end. As the main two characters, their performances influence the entire film greatly.

As a film about car racing, the cars and the racing are important. Here the cars, in most cases, look great and the racing does too. It’s mostly circuit racing with a bit of street racing and both look great and are shot in exciting ways. The way these are shot are reminiscent of a few past films and the influence of films like the Taxi series from France, the Fast & Furious serious from the US, Borning from Norway, etc. The races here are shot clearly and switch back and forth between the driver’s point of view and a full view of the car, creating excitement and tension at times.

These races and the rest of the film are well shot with cinematography by Michele D’Attanasio and editing by Gianni Vezzosi. The pace of the film and its look change depending on scenes and what these scenes dictate, showing that the film is built carefully and what each scene needs is what it gets. The film does advance at a good pace and the editing keeps things moving even in scenes that are longer or more demanding.

Veloce come il vento is a touching family drama that mixes it’s family dynamics with car racing which adds excitement to an otherwise simple drama. Here, the film is exciting in parts and becomes one that is fun to watch even though the characters are going through hard time and are played with talent. The film touches on many familial and familiar issues and handles them with class and just the right touch of excitement. It’s a fun watch for a drama, something that is not often seen.