Stefano Formaggio is set up like a fairy tale with romance as rich as the cheese it features, but with a disturbing twist that will leave you utterly shocked. The film is the directional debut of Darren Darnborough who is known for his acting roles in True Blood and Two Broke Girls. There is no denying that Stefano Formaggio is a brilliant showcase of his many talents beyond his acting, showing off his writing, producing and directing abilities.
Shot in the exquisite town of Carmel, the films setting is in an idyllic village where everything is aesthetically beautiful, including the people who live there. The story follows handsome charmer Stefano, a local merchant and producer of the finest, most exquisite cheese in the village. The whole village are in awe of Stefano and his addictive formaggio, the men all wish they were him and the women wish that they could be with him. One particular lady who is completely mesmerised by Stefano is Jasmine a beautiful, shy florist. After a long time of admiring him from a far Jasmine finally gets her ultimate wish of a date. The date starts off well, but as it continues to pan out it is clear that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to Stefano. Let’s just say Stefano is definitely hiding more than just a family secret!
In just 20 minutes running time you are transformed from what starts as a gorgeous story book romance to a tale full of deception and disturbing secrets. Whilst you may begin your journey routing for Jasmine and Stefano’s romance to blossom you will soon be feeling thankful she escaped it as things take a rather strange turn.
The sound track used fits perfectly with calming melodies that help enhance the beauty of each scene. One particular scene in the florist where Jasmine makes up a bouquet of flowers has the sweet sound of a harp playing in the background, which works well to help the sequence flow. The lighting throughout is kept bright with high saturation to make the village look even more heavenly. However the scenes with Stefano in his home are very dimly lit and much darker in colour. This is a clever technique on Darnborough’s part as these stark contrasts reflect the theme that things can be far from perfect once behind closed doors.
A special mention must be given to Pasquale Cassalia (The Artist) as Stefano and Alice Greczyn (The Lying Game) as Jasmine. Both individuals were cast perfectly for their specific roles and it is down to their performances which complimented each other so well, which made this film even more enjoyable to watch.
The film has had a fantastic response already and had its world premier at Catalina Film Festival this September. It is also set to screen back where it was shot after being specially selected for Carmel International Film festival from October 15th-19th.
If you are a lover of love stories, mysterious thrillers and good cheese then this film is for you!