The Art of Happiness (L’Arte della Felicita): Venice Review

Anyone wondering where to find an elusive feeling of joy in a world remorselessly depicted as “crappy” may find a bit of enlightenment, or at least bemused pleasure, in The Art of Happiness, a thought-provoking animated drama for adults set on the mean streets of Naples. The story of an angry young taxi driver who refuses to come to terms with his brother’s abandonment recalls Richard Linklater’s 2001 Waking Life in its smart and imaginative exploration of consciousness, with the twist that debuting filmmaker Alessandro Rak inserts an East meets West dimension into a highly naturalistic urbanscape. Kicking off Venice’s Critics Week, this first feature is promising but stuffed with a little too much to finally click, and an noxiously loud, ever-present music track adds to the confusion. In Italy, young adult audiences will most easily latch on to its crudely expressed but ultimately uplifting message, and the same qualities

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