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DVD Review: David’s Birthday

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Four friends rent an Italian beach house for the summer and plan to have a nice, relaxing vacation. However, things do not always go as planned, especially with the arrival of one of the couples’ son. His arrival creates quite a stir for those involved in David’s Birthday, a beautifully filmed examination of the choices we make in life.

Diego and Shary (Alessandro Gassman and Michela Cescon) are married, but no longer live together. Diego cannot stop his womanizing ways, and just cannot seem to grow up. Matteo and Francesca (Massimo Poggio and Maria de Medeiros) are on the opposite end of the spectrum, happily married with an eight year old daughter. Everything seems perfect until the arrival of David (Thyago Alves), Diego and Shary’s eighteen-year-old son. His birthday is approaching, and they have invited him to stay at the house with them. From his first glance at the pool, Matteo is instantly drawn to the handsome David, and as each day progresses, his desire grows. Matteo is a psychologist who understands other people’s behavior, yet he cannot grasp what is happening to him, but tries his best to fight it.

Meanwhile, Diego is concerned about David’s attitude towards the many girls that flock to him on the beach. Diego, who never seems to pass up a pretty face, cannot understand why David just does not seem to care about any of that. This causes a rift between Diego and Shary, who believes it is too late for him to start being a real father.

When David’s birthday finally arrives, passions have reached their boiling point, and feelings are confronted with very tragic results.

I must give the filmmakers credit, especially concerning the attraction of Matteo to David. His feelings are very well handled, and Poggio does an excellent job of showing the progression of Matteo’s emotions as each day passes. This was a very tricky plot to pull off, but it appears it was done with great care. I also appreciated the connection of the story in relation to opera, which gave the film a bigger emotional punch, especially during the climax. David’s Birthday is an intense film, one that does not shy away from the subject matter at hand. It will also linger in your memory days after viewing.

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