Director: Matteo Garrone
Year Released: 2012
Outgoing fishmonger and small-time con-man Luciano (former real-life gangster Aniello Arena) tries out for the Italian version of Big Brother (a reality TV program) at the urging of his wife and kids, lands an audition at Cinecittà and waits for a phone call telling him he's selected - naturally, he never gets the phone call, which causes him to have a psychotic break from reality. The shift from normal husband/father/worker to delusional mess isn't particularly well developed, but Arena, in an outstanding screen debut, sells what is there with the gusto and credibility of a veteran actor. Director Garrone is clever enough to play up the parallels between 'cleaning up one's act' to achieve fame and wealth and celebrity and going through a similarly ritualistic process to be rewarded in the spiritual hereafter (pointedly, some church ladies misunderstand Luciano's desire to get into "the house" on Big Brother and "the House" with God). The final God's Eye view shot above the television set is wonderfully tongue-in-cheek.