The 32-year-old D’Innocenzo brothers, Damiano and Fabio, are not newcomers; they shot a feature called Boys Cry in 2018 and made script contributions to many others, including Matteo Garrone’s Dogman. But this is their breakthrough as writer-directors: Favolacce, translated as Bad Tales, which won the Silver Bear award for screenplay at the Berlin film festival last year.
It is a superbly shot, viscerally acted ensemble drama of group dysfunction among blue-collar families in the Rome suburbs at the tail end of a sweltering summer. The children prepare to go back to school where a sinister science teacher is to have a catastrophic influence. The ingenious premise is that the narrator has discovered a child’s diary with blank pages and continues the journal in fictional form. This film is the result.