Freaks Out – TADFF 2022

Freaks Out

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A troupe of circus freaks fight back against a Nazi showman in . Matilde (Aurora Giovinazzo), Fulvio (Claudio Santamaria), Cencio (Pietro Castellitto), and Mario (Giancarlo Martini) are four superpowered performers for the Half Penny Circus run by Israel (Giorgio Tirabassi) in 1943 Rome. When a bombing mid-performance destroys the circus, Israel goes off on his own to try and secure passage to America. When Israel doesn't return, Fulvio, Cencio, and Mario join the Zirkus Berlin run 6-fingered Nazi pianist Franz (Franz Rogowski). At the same time, Matilde goes off on her own and ends up with a guerrilla squadron led by the hunchback Il Gobbo (Max Mazzotta). When Matilde discovers that Nazis have captured Israel, she sets out to retrieve her friends and stage a rescue.

Freaks Out is a World War II fantasy written and directed by Gabriele Mainetti, with the film being the recipient of 8 awards from the 2021 Venice Film Festival. Each of the titular freaks has an X-Men-like superpower, with Matilde able to generate electricity, dogman Fulvio having super-strength, albino Cencio able to control insects, and pint-sized clown Mario being magnetic. These super abilities become the target of the ousted Nazi, Franz, who can see the future and wants to create a superpowered army as a gift to Hitler.

I could see Freaks Out as the type of film Guillermo del Toro would love, with the film arguably depicting carnie-life better than del Toro's Nightmare Alley from last year. Freaks Out features intentional anachronisms due to Franz's future-reading abilities, with him playing some familiar tunes during his piano performances. The biggest issue with Freaks Out is the film's 2-hour 21-minute running time, which could have easily been trimmed down. However, the film is still a well-done story about this family of freaks.

Trailer for Freaks Out – TADFF 2022

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Freaks Out (2021)
Runtime:141 minutes
Countries:Italy, Belgium
Production companies:
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Rome, 1943: Matilde, Cencio, Fulvio and Mario are the main attractions of the "Mezza Piotta Circus" run by Israel, meanwhile someone starts looking for the four freaks with a plan that could change the fate of the whole world.
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