"Notti Magiche" may not be "Il Capitale Umano" but it is close enough. It is a tragicomical, pictoresque portrayal of classic Italian cinema at its decline.
Virzì's latest film tells the story of three young screenwriters who, in the summer of 1990, are introduced to the world of filmmaking, and progressively get disillusioned as they are involved in an industry that rather than developing a form of art seems to crunch any form of artistic interpretation or depth between the wheels of its 'machine' a system that slowly transforms the screenwriters' works in something much less valuable than what the young protagonists envisioned. Casting and marketing choices aimed only to please the public, nepotism, screenplay ghost-writing and even physical abuses are themes that are tackled.
While the depth of the themes is evident, the tone of the film isn't exactly dark. Just as Virzì's "Il Capitale Umano" it is enjoyably melancholic, a real example of tragicomedy.
The film is set during a year when italian cinema was partly fading: the great, classic movie directors, like Fellini, Leone, Rosellini, Visconti and others were all already at the end of their careers or deceased (though Tornatore had just won an Oscar with 'Nuovo Cinema Paradiso. I find it interesting that this period is re-explored in a film released following a year (2017) of crisis for italian cinema, due to a historically low income from italian releases. 2018 definitely seems a redemptive year, thanks to Garrone's 'Dogman' Sorrentino's 'Loro' Sollima's 'Soldado' although an US production) the Netflix original 'Sulla mia Pelle' and now, with Paolo Virzì's 'Notti Magiche.