Fame is a curious thing. It can come and go in the blink of an eye. One day, you’re on top of the world. Everyone want to be you or be with you. The next, you’re yesterday’s man; washed up with a rapidly diminishing fanbase. Age is rarely kind to performers. Most people take the decision to get out. Start a new life. Some carry on, despite the ever-diminishing returns. That is the fate of Rimini.
Richie Bravo (Michael Thomas) is an aging lounge singer with a drinking problem. The Austrian plies his trade, out of season, in the Italian seaside resort of Rimini. His audience are elderly European holidaymakers looking for cheap fun. He provides a little extra for fans who can pay. When his estranged daughter (Tessa Göttlicher) appears, the cheerful lothario suddenly needs to solve a cashflow problem.
If you’ve seen an Ulrich Seidl (Paradise Trilogy, Import/Export) film before, you’ll probably know what to expect. Rimini takes an unlikeable character and lets him roam free. While it’s beautifully shot, it’s a comedy drama which lives or dies by the performance of Thomas, and he’s magnificently terrible. Rimini is a character study like no other.
Rimini is out in UK cinemas from 9 December.