When watching Pizza, Birra, Faso, it appears on the surface to be a simple movie about a misbehaving group of teenagers. However, when watching the film again, I noticed an focus on time and movement through both time and space. Through the use of handheld cameras, and the timeline of the plot events, Adrian Caetano and Bruno Stagnaro force the viewer to notice the anomalies in time and space and consider the meaning behind this fluidity.
Unlike films we may be used to that open with static, establishing shots, Pizza, Birra, Faso starts off with fast paced camera movements. The high mobility of the handheld camera allows it to have a velocity that immediately immerses the viewers into the action. The directors also point to this fascination with moving through time and space through the focus on transportation in the opening. In the first ten minutes of the film, we see a police car, a bus, a taxicab, and an airplane. When the shots aren’t focused on a mode of transportation, they show people walking or moving. Even after the opening has finished and the plot events have begun, specifically during the first taxicab robbery, the camera continues moving while filming. Perhaps, this points to certain instability in time and space that mirrors the instability in the teenagers lives.
In addition, the temporal structure of the film places the viewer directly in the plot. As opposed to introducing us to the characters and easing us in, it starts in the middle of the action. Because we receive no background information on the characters, we do not develop the emotional attachment to them that we usually would. We do not know how they found themselves in this position, or what present circumstances cause them to make the choices they do. It is clear from what the directors do show us that these characters have turned to crime due to their socioeconomic status. However, they do intentionally show us citizens who are in a lower social class. For example, in the beginning of the movie, Cordoba and Pablo leave their unfinished pieces of pizza on a ledge outside the pizza stand, and another man runs up to eat them, showing that there are hungrier people than the main characters. After that, Cordoba and Pablo are shown robbing a beggar with no legs.
These instances show us that this group of teenagers is better off than they could be; yet they still choose a life of crime. This, in and of itself, would not necessarily change our image of the teens. If they were only stealing from the rich, we may find it more morally acceptable. If this were the case, we could see it as a commentary on the economic situation of Argentina at the time the film was shot. However, they also steal from the poor, such as the beggar and the people standing in the unemployment line. Because of this, we do not necessarily root for these characters.
Why do the directors focus on movement? What does this do for your understanding of the film?
How does the way the camera moves through space and time affect your understanding of the film and the plot?
In regards to how the characters are presented, do you think the directors did this purposefully? If so, why would they make this choice, and how does it affect your feelings towards the film?