What You Need To Know:
(B, R, LLL, V, N, A, AB, M) Moral main character and worldview, tending at times toward romanticism; 26 obscenities, 13 profanities & vulgar insults by children; mild violence -- character threatens & strikes another; brief naturalistic nudity -- children receiving injections; alcoholic minor character; Catholic-run hospitals portrayed negatively; and, scatological humor, some involving feces.
Lina Wertmuller’s new film CIAO, PROFESSORE! is a charming and entertaining look at what happens when two cultures collide. The cultures in question are those of sophisticated Northern Italy and Southern Italy, which is plagued by poverty, corruption and a bad manners. A conscientious, refined and middle-aged elementary school teacher from Northern Italy is transferred by a computer error to the rather seedy southern town of Corzano, where education is seen as less important than black-market connections and working in the family business. There, he finds himself immediately at odds with the status quo, but he tries equip to his third-grade students to make a future for themselves. His efforts to make a mark on the lives of the children are both humorous and touching.
Technically, the film is well-made. The photography is effective, though rarely calling attention to itself. The performances are quite good throughout, especially the children, but including even minor adult characters. However, an abrupt change of tone at the end of the film, from sincere hopefulness to ironic ambiguity, causes some confusion. The film seems uncertain of its intentions: Is it a comedy or a melodrama? Also of concern is the appalling language by the children as well as some rather vulgar humor.