It’s never too late to get the travel bug. Three adorable retirees want to move abroad, preferably to a cheap country where they can stretch their scant pension and drink as many beers as they like. The golden drink costs just €1 in Sofia, or even less if they are prepared to venture a bit further out, to an exotic country such as Cuba or Indonesia. They are not alone: more than 50,000 Italian pensioners have moved abroad in search of a more comfortable life.
The avuncular trio have very different lifestyles and personalities. Professor (played by the director himself) is a quiet and stern Latin teacher, while Giorgetto (Giorgio Colangeli) is a boisterous Roman struggling to pay his bills, and Atillio (Ennio Fantastichini) is a laid-back antique dealer and bon viveur, attempting to reclaim the excitement of his youth. They spend most of their time together, hanging out in bars and restaurants, discussing the exciting details of their new life. Their selection criteria are rather peculiar, almost puerile: they want to live in a country without floods and hurricanes; they decide against Australia because the island is apparently “surrounded by jellyfish”. In a way, the search for the perfect destination is the journey per se.
They find unusual ways of collecting funds for their impending journey, including copious lottery cards. They keep the money in a little box. But then the fears and anxieties begin to set in. Is it safe and is it feasible to move to a brand new country at old age? Giorgetto’s body begins to show signs of faltering. He feels pain in his liver, only for his doctor to tell him that the organ does not have any nerve endings. The pain is all in his head. Perhaps he’s are not prepared for such a bold move after all.
Along their quest, they encounter an African teenager named Abu, who also wishes to leave the country. Abu wants to meet a cousin and settle in Canada. Unlike the three pensioners, he has neither relatives nor a safety net in the Italian capital. He has to fend for himself. He makes ends meet by selling goods on the bustling streets of the city centre, constantly having to run and evade the police. His predicament represents another type of immigration, under constant duress and hardship.
Citizens of the World is a gentle comedy about solidarity and brotherhood. It’s not a laugh-out-loud type of movie, but it’s guaranteed to put a broad smile on your face. Worth seeing on a day you are longing for pastures green. Perhaps your dream destination isn’t as far as you think!
Citizens of the World is on VoD on Friday, June 12th.