‘But the world was changing and so were we – some of us sooner than
Promised, written and directed by Nick Conidi (co-directed with Tony Ferrieri),
is a film which draws inspiration from Conidi’s parent’s lived reality, facing
the outdated Italian tradition of arranged marriage, or combinare –
meaning ‘to arrange’.
The film opens in 1953 when a baby Angela becomes ‘promised’ to close
family friend’s son, Robert at a family celebration of her birth. Skimming
forward a couple of decades, and in the midst of the 1970’s blue eye shadow,
shag carpet and extravagantly large collars – we meet Angela again as a young
woman, (Antoinette Iesu), she’s a university student, passionately head over
heels for her boyfriend, who throws an undeniably obvious spanner in Robert and
Angela’s fathers arrangements for their engagement. There is the vaguest sense
of some underbelly, Godfather akin dealings in the tidying up of this loose
end, but the film doesn’t revolve around this in the slightest – make no
mistake, it’s a film about love and culture more than it is a family-run
The film unravels the complexities that arise in the post-war world of
immigrant Italian families, where tradition butts heads with the new
generation’s faith in freedom and adapting to the new culture and times. It
examines family duty, personal liberty and young love in an unabashed and
earnest way as Angela navigates trying to escape her family’s expectations and
The film is an endearing kind of rom-com that pays a truthful homage to the experience of culture and it’s evolution but falls short of being striking or particularly evocative. Some of the dialogue falls short, the script feels vaguely un-finished or in need of a few re-writes in sections where it leans on clichés and a somewhat predictable exchange of lines. Still, it is a heart warmer, the cast perform superbly and both directors still have much to be proud of in capturing the way a stubborn, nostalgic view of the world must sometimes adapt and how it may also be integrated into the modern.
Director: Nick Conidi, Tony Ferrieri (co-director), Nathan Primmer (co-director)
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