This sweet, meandering wisp of an Italian film salutes the well-meaning dreamers and schemers among us – those who conjure up big plans while eyeing up just one more drink at the bar. It also has a gently humanitarian streak running through it – simplistic but winning all the same. Like Gianni Di Gregorio’s earlier films ‘Mid-August Lunch’ and ‘The Salt of Life’, it’s almost a one-man show – starring, written and directed by Di Gregorio himself – and again his theatre is the lived-in city-centre neighbourhood in Rome which we must presume he knows as well as the bar he props up most evenings.
Di Gregorio is The Professor (he’s a retired Classics teacher), and he starts plotting with two fellow retirees, workshy Giorgetto (Giorgio Colangeli), and bigger-than-life Attilio (the late Ennio Fantastichini) about how they should move abroad to make their meagre pensions go further. How about Bali? Or maybe The Azores? Or perhaps a quick glass of grappa while we consider the question further?
The deliberations unfold over a week, as the trio visit family, friends and acquaintances for advice or just another drink. A young Malian man, Abu (Salih Saadin Khalid), pops up occasionally: homeless, he uses the shower at Giorgetto’s ramshackle apartment and is saving up to join a relative in Canada. His dream of foreign travel couldn’t be more different. For them, it’s an amusing pastime; for him it’s a lifeline to another life. Rambling and conversational, ‘Citizens of the World’ is low-key but also undeniably heartwarming. It’s a gentle celebration of good company, good wine and good intentions.
Available to stream in the UK on Curzon Home Cinema.