Area Paradiso is a television film that was broadcast on Canale 5 on 6 April 2012.
Area Paradiso, a small service station, lies nestled along a quiet, almost forgotten motorway stretch in the hills of central Italy. Area Paradiso is frozen in time. What moves is the world which streams past it.
A grave danger looms over the uneventful life of the people at the service station: out of the blue, an express letter from the general management informs them that Area Paradiso is likely to close down because of the economic crisis. Along the same stretch of motorway there is another service station, located too close to Area Paradiso. These old and unprofitable stations cannot both remain open. The one that produces the greater turnover and provides better services will survive. An incognito agent sent by the company will assess the work of the two service stations, to determine their fate.
Panic grips the people at the station.
Attempts are made to turn the situation around. The Area Paradiso folk start waging an absurd poor man's war against the rival service station. In the ensuing conflict, the two stations take cheap shots at one another, with the only result being the worsening of the situation.
Meanwhile, the personal stories of the protagonists unfold. Aurelio and the Argentinian girl (a character who turns out to be more mysterious than she seemed to be at first) study one another and ultimately fall in love. Poldo and Marisa experience a marital crisis and Furio discovers a son whose existence he was unaware.
Area Paradiso attempts one last trick to ensure its survival: working even at night, to feed and entertain the many lorry drivers – its only chance to increase its turnover. The arrival of the dreaded agent, reprisals from the rival service station, bureaucracy and a devastating storm, however, shatter our heroes' dreams of survival, until a final coup de théâtre changes destiny's course.
CHARACTERS AND ACTORS
Our service station is a microcosm inhabited by a range of different people. They know one another well, since they have been working together for years, and somehow put up with their good and bad sides.
Furio (Diego Abatantuono), the person in charge of the petrol pumps, he is the leader of the tribe. Born and bred in Area Paradiso, he suffers from a strange syndrome that fills him with terror at the mere thought of leaving his “kingdom” to go into the world at large. He cannot even remember the last time he crossed the boundaries of the parking area. He is constantly fighting with Poldo (Francesco Villa), the manager of the service station restaurant, a gambler up to his eyeballs in debt. He is always speaking of the allegedly glorious past of the world of international horse racing and is frustrated by his banal routine that limits his business potential and creativity. He is in a perpetual state of crisis with Marisa (Karin Proia), his curvaceous and brilliant wife who works as the service station's barmaid.
Area Paradiso also includes a workshop, run by mild-mannered Aurelio (Ricky Memphis), a skilled mechanic in love with Rosa (Maria Jesus Pierabella), an Argentinian girl. The two have been entertaining an online “relationship” for six months, and she is thinking of moving in with him.
The group is completed by:
Saman (Alessandro Besentini), a filling station attendant who lives in a world of his own. A sweet, surreal and apparently illogical man, he is an old friend of Furio's and has a devastating sense of humour;
Romeo (Gianluca Fubelli), a stoner cook, willing but incompetent;
and finally Wanda (Rosalia Porcaro), the romantic yet pragmatic restroom lady.