Life sometimes requires us to swallow our ego, put out fires and resolve crises on a variety of fronts–family, work, children. What if you were in crisis mode all the time? How do we confront these adversities, but more to the point, where do we find the gumption to do so? In Franco Lolli’s very personal film “Litigante,” there’s something almost invasive about watching Silvia (Carolin Sanin) go through a life that seems to be getting more complicated—hopeless, even—by the day. Lolli’s camera quickly finds Silvia’s face, and stays with it. She communicates so much by way of her melancholy gaze that she casts unto the world, while doting on an ill parent with the help of a somewhat reluctant sibling and rearing a son who doesn’t know who his real father is, that it almost sums up the whole movie.
With “Litigante” director Franco Lolli has brushed an intimate and touching portrait of a bourgeois woman, of a mother, a daughter and sister whose life, in limbo, is buffeted by life’s uncertainties. The events, both internal and external, would cause most of us to lose our wits. Silvia works for Colombia’s government as on-staff attorney for the department of housing and urban development. Her glass-windowed office overlooks the city, her position in the organization is an enviable one. Until she gets tangled up in a corruption scandal in which she is innocent. Her mother has been taken ill with cancer and will soon require round-the-clock care. All of the responsibility for keeping the family together a crisis rests on her shoulders. Silvia is the only adult in the room.
Franco Lolli, who was born in Bogota in the early eighties and comes from an affluent family, graduated from la Femis, France’s most prestigious film school. Before “Litigante” he directed a couple of short films that did well at festivals, garnering several prizes. His first feature film, “Gente de bien,” appeared at Critics Week here in Cannes in 2014, and went on to have a rich festival life. “Litigante” was given the honor, this year, of opening Critics Week, one of the parallel sections taking place during the Cannes Festival.