Director: Ferzan Ozpetek
Starring: Kasia Smutniak, Francesco Arca, Filippo Scicchitano
Release Date: 6th March 2014 (Italy)
Director Ferzan Ozpetek takes us on a bumpy ride in his 2014 film, Fasten Your Seatbelts. The main characters, Elena (Kasia Smutniak) and Antonio (Francesco Arca) beautifully display a romance that begins magnetically but that must endure years of turbulence. Life is unpredictable like that, especially within relationships and friendships.
The film begins as Elena and Antonio meet and instantly provoke each other with their differing points-of-view. They later meet again as Elena finds out Antonio is her friend’s new boyfriend. Despite all those complications, their attraction is undeniable. The idea that opposites attract is quite clear here, and also that love doesn’t always fit into some neat compartment. The film continues with a picturesque scene at a beach where Elena and Antonio spend an enraptured afternoon. The warm sand, the smooth sea, and the blue skies surround them. After all, nature doesn’t serve to condemn. A culminating moment arrives when Antonio gets a call from his girlfriend, and Elena simultaneously gets a call from her boyfriend. A tricky situation is set and one where judgments can be placed on what is the right thing to do.
The film fast forwards to 13 years ahead. The love that began so tumultuously continues to collect more baggage. Luckily, Elena is supported throughout by her true ‘til the end friend, Fabio (Filippo Scicchitano).
Ferzan Ozpetek, was born in Istanbul, Turkey in 1959 and moved to Rome, Italy in 1976 to study film history. He then went on to study at the notable Silvio D’Amico National Academy of Dramatic Art. Apparently, this mix of sensibilities, led him to make this film modern and not maudlin.
It would be easy to make conclusions about the characters citing moral and societal misjudgments, but the film is constructed in a way to prevent that as an ending. The film begins at the beginning of the romance, jumps 13 years ahead, and then goes back to the beginning to fill in the gaps. In the process, some opinions the viewer may have had throughout the film are challenged. We hope to do the right things in life and to be true-blue friends and partners. We can aspire to all those altruistic ideals, but in the end, life is fragile and so are we. The film does show that while love can get pushed aside for a while, it is still there, and for some it can withstand some really high winds.