2014 • Italy • Directed by Paolo Virzì
A web of greed, lust and lies threatens to bring about the financial and moral bankruptcy of two Italian families in this gripping neo-noir mystery. A calculation used by insurers to assess the monetary worth of a life cut short, the concept of ‘Human Capital’ draws upon a person’s life expectancy, earning capacity, and the quantity and quality of their emotional bonds. Intricately told and thoroughly gripping, this neo-noir mystery questions the material and emotional value of both the living and the dead as it weaves a tangled web of greed, lust and accidental death. Set against the backdrop of the mounting global financial crisis, writer-director Paolo Virzì adapts Stephen Amidon’s 2004 novel ‘Human Capital’, switching the book’s affluent Connecticut enclaves for the more moody surrounds of northern Italy. The film traces the financial and emotional entanglement of two families; one lives off the fat profits of hedge funds, whilst the other is led by a small-time real estate agent who dreams of bigger things. Their relationship unravels across several chapters, each of which reveals part of the story from the perspective of key characters. This central narrative puzzle deepens with every strand, revealing new angles on the financial and moral bankruptcy of each family.