The Embalmer ★★★ L'Imbalsamatore 2003
Peppino (Mahieux) is a dwarfish middle-aged taxidermist (the Embalmer of the title) who attaches himself to handsome but dumb Valerio (Manzillo). Peppino hires Valerio, gives him a place to live, and uses hookers to put the two men in bed together at the same time. When Valerio meets Deborah, a beautiful drifter, on a business trip, the result is a tug-of-war for Valerio's attention. Mahieux is brilliant as the creepy Peppino, who supplements his income with shady underworld deals. Manzillo does an adequate job as the blank, naive Valerio, who can't decide between barracuda Deborah and a relationship he doesn't entirely understand with Peppino. Director Garrone fills every moment with lurking dread and foreboding, adding distinctive visual flourishes and gritty details. 104m/C DVD . IT Ernesto Mahieux, Valerio Foglia Manzillo, Elisabetta Rocchetti, Pietro Biondi, David Ryall, Bernardino Terracciano, Marcella Granito; D: Matteo Garrone; W: Matteo Garrone, Ugo Chiti, Massimo Gaudioso; C: Marco Onorato; M: Banda Osiris.