The hardcore punk rock scene and the sleepy provincial capital seem unlikely—and decidedly unfriendly—to share the same bed. But the combination seems primed for some comedy-movie moments, and it’s this that provides the satirical backbone behind Margins, writer/director Niccolò Falsetti’s captivating debut.
The film, shown at Critics Week in Venice (the only Italian winner in the competition), tells the story of three young men in an amateur street punk band in
members as they fight for the classic musical’s goal: put on the biggest concert of their lives. Sadly for them, their life is in Grosseto, a small city in Tuscany known for making a lot of noise. In fact, according to Falsetti, who grew up there (like many, he later fled to Rome), it’s not known at all.
“You have to understand that no one in the world knows that Grosseto exists, let alone Italy,” he said. Even online travel guides describe it as a place “overlooked by the vast majority of tourists” without any “major attractions”.
The origin of Margins comes directly from the experience of Falsetti and Francesco Turbanti (who co-wrote the film with Falsetti and Tommaso Renzoni and also acted as drummer of the band). These two “good friends” met in Grosseto more than two decades ago, when they were about years old. Their friendship was forged because of their discovery of punk rock. They later formed a band – PEGS (still going on, an acronym for Pinks Elephants Gangs, “Pink Elephant from Dumbo…I don’t know why…we are 15 !” said Falsetti) – and will perform at events that are rarely wilder than a friend’s birthday party.
In the early days of Margins, there was a scene where the film’s central band, called Wait for Nothing, was in an open-air neighborhood that was almost deserted Played at the event, shouting out a song about punk not just a fad to a small group of bored onlookers, “It’s very loud, but…well…cool!” the ashen congressman noted, He took the stage before they could play anything else, showing the group some bingo tickets for the raffle as payment.
Movies like This Is Spinal Tap (especially the theme park amusement park scene) come to mind, but overall Margins has a softer comedic vibe and takes the time to focus on the strain the concert — or lack thereof — puts on the trio’s relationship (including lead guitarist Edoardo and His mom, she’s still trying to iron his black punk t-shirt) .
Falsetti claims his reference point is actually Shane Meadows’ acclaimed film series This is England, especially those moments that mix the punk aesthetic with the more mundane aspects of life (“Like when you let the main skinheads cook, I like that” ) and the British smash hit The Full Monty , he even admitted that his mother – a conservative Catholic – liked it very much (he also admitted that she too had ironed his black punk T-shirt). “We love how they turned the characters’ struggles into such an interesting story,” he noted.
Margins might see its three young punks face bureaucracy, confusion, and an inability to host the A town for this kind of show (in one hilarious scene, consider a cheesy nightclub with a lighted dance floor and bubble machines). But Falsetti did admit that his upbringing was not identical. “We’re actually luckier than our protagonists because we have some punk bands in town,” he noted. “There are five or six bands, and we regularly organize concerts.”
And, although in his birthplace (all Margins , the bar nightclub, was shot), Falsetti claimed the town welcomed the film with open arms.
“They like the fact that we’re making movies in Grosseto,” he said. “But they don’t really know what the movie is about.”