by chelsea innes for FILMbutton
Sergio Navarretta’s The Colossal Failure of the Modern Relationship shows the story of a cheating common law wife joining her husband, a food critic, on a trip to the Niagara wine region in a last ditch attempt to save their relationship. When her lover and his girlfriend join them their secrets unwind over several meals paired perfectly with the local wines.
The movie features two love triangles. The first is the literal love triangle between the main characters Catherine (Krista Bridges), her common law husband and his boss (Enrico Colantoni, David Cubitt). The sneaking around is familiar, yet cheeky, and playful with the men being portrayed as the temptresses. The film portrays to the audience the unending struggle of ‘wanting what you can’t have’ as well as the basic human struggle for our lives to have purpose and meaning.
The relationship between food, wine, and love is clearly the film’s second, but not, secondary triangle. The ‘slow-motion’ meal sequences portray each character enjoying their meal and wine as if they were enjoying a lover. An example of this is the transitional fades that resemble how a typical sex scene would be cut while the characters are shot sipping their wine in close up. While they swirl and swig on an ever-present Pinot Noir, the conversation flows and the meals are referred to as ‘orgasmic’. At this point, ‘The Chef’ character really drives home the point between food and love by stating “the secret to good food is honestly (…) without honesty all is lost”.
Navarretta’s Italian-Canadian heritage is evident and sets a real vibe that runs rampant throughout the film. The characters are encouraged to let loose, be passionate, and embrace their ‘inner Sicilian’. Juxtaposing Italian music with Niagara’s rolling vineyards and a Moose sign with the word “Ciao” also makes this fusion apparent. In essence, through Navarretta’s eyes, we see Canada’s Niagara region portrayed as a place where you can explore great food, wine and love with a large ‘splash’ of passion…Italian-style.
– The film also played at the 2015 Italian Contemporary Film Festival (ICFF)