We all hold secrets but history will always hold even more. Pietro, a pastry chef and aspiring actor, has come to a new city with a heart full of unrequited love. Trapped in his own loneliness, he barely notices the ghosts he lives with, until one day they start taking over. Magnificent Presence is a moving tale of love, betrayal, and family.
Festival regulars will remember writer-director Ferzan Ozpetek from his earlier VFF hits: 2010’s rib-tickling Loose Cannons and 2009’s tight ensemble drama A Perfect Day. That’s not to mention a string of other award-winning features that haven’t gotten a lot of exposure on this side of the world yet. His newest Magnificient Presence marks yet another change of style but also another strong showing of work that’s already garnered him awards at the Moscow Film Fest and at the Italian Golden Globes.
Set in modern day Rome, Pietro is still struggling to get acting gigs and to put his job as a pastry chef behind him. His money situation means it’s up to his real estate agent sister to find him a cheap place to live. But unknown to his sister, his beautiful and affordable apartment comes with a secret room and secret guests too. Slowly, the ghosts of a 1930s family of actors come tumbling out of that room and into his life, finally just joining him for dinner as if they’d never died. Family and friends, even ethereal, are a welcome addition to his quiet life. Confused by their own death and existence, they push Pietro to investigate their mysteries, as they cannot. What he learns of their ultimate fate in Mussolini’s Italy will surprise everyone. However, it will be the greater sense of our place in time that will set both his ghosts and Pietro free.