Film review: The Hummingbird by Francesca Archibugi starring Pierfrancesco Favino

It was a real honour to meet Italian film director Francesca Archibugi last night at the UK premiere of her latest flick The Hummingbird (Il Colibrì in Italian), during the Cinema Made in Italy Festival. Archibugi is known for her meditative films “Vivere”, “Mignon Has come to stay” and “Tomorrow”. 

The Hummingbird is a captivating adaptation of Sandro Veronesi’s eponymous novel. The plot of the film revolves around a middle-aged man named Marco Carrera (Pierfrancesco Favino), who is a successful doctor but is dealing with a lot of personal and emotional problems. His marriage is falling apart, and he has a complicated relationship with his teenage daughter. The film is deeply compassionate following Marco’s journey on his path of self-discovery.


Cinema made in italy francesca archibugi with monica costa

One of the main challenges of adapting Veronesi’s novel for the big screen was the complexity of the narrative. The book is a sprawling epic that covers several decades and explores a wide range of themes, from love and death to politics and religion. Archibugi, however, manages to distil the essence of the story into a more focused and intimate film, while still retaining the novel’s richness and depth.

Archibugi’s style of directing is characterised by a careful attention to detail and a subtle touch. She is known for her ability to create nuanced and complex characters, and this is certainly evident in The Hummingbird. Each character in the film is multi-dimensional, with their own unique hopes, fears, and motivations. Archibugi also excels at creating an atmosphere of intimacy and vulnerability, which is particularly important in a film like this, where the characters are grappling with grief and loss.

One of the standout performances in the film comes from Pierfrancesco Favino, who plays Marco Carrera with a remarkable depth and sensitivity. Favino captures the character’s emotional turmoil with great skill, conveying the full range of his feelings – from anger and bitterness to sorrow and regret. Nanni Moretti, too, is excellent as the shrink, bringing a sense of warmth to the film that serves as a counterpoint to the darker themes of the story.

Another notable aspect of The Hummingbird is its cinematography (by Paolo Sorrentino’s preferred DOP Luca Bigazzi). The film is shot in a naturalistic style, which emphasises the quiet beauty of everyday life. The camera lingers on small details – a flicker of light on a windowpane, the rustle of leaves in the wind – creating a sense of intimacy and closeness that draws the viewer into the world of the film. The beauty of the landscapes in Tuscany and  Lazio acts almost  as an omnipresent reassuring character in the narrative.

Despite its focus on grief and loss, The Hummingbird is ultimately a film about the power of human connection. It is a reminder that even in the darkest moments of our lives, we are not alone – that there are always people who care for us and want to help us through our pain. Archibugi’s film is a moving and poignant tribute to the resilience of the human spirit, and a testament to the enduring power of love.

Overall, The Hummingbird is a beautifully crafted film that is sure to resonate with audiences. Archibugi’s direction is masterful, and the performances from Favino, Moretti, and Smutniak are all outstanding. This is a film that explores the big themes of life and death, love and loss, with great sensitivity and grace. If you’re a fan of Italian cinema, or simply a lover of powerful and emotionally resonant storytelling, then The Hummingbird is a film that should not be missed.

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