Paleo Retiree writes:


Three and a half stars. Set on the harshly beautiful Italian island of Lampedusa, this 2002 film is EZ neorealism — and I don’t mean that as a putdown. For much of its length, the film is an open and attentive portrait of a peasant fishing town, mainly via its rituals, its work, its meals and its children. Events unfold at an unhurried pace — the fascination is in taking in what these people are like and how their traditional, everyone-knows-everyone-else’s-business life works.

The story that slowly emerges is about a young, beautiful fisherman’s wife (Valeria Golino), the mother of three kids, with whom she has a very loving — and maybe too-sensual — relationship. She causes hard-to-understand scenes; she overreacts to everything; she can be disruptive as hell. Whassup with her? Is she mentally ill? Or is she a free spirit trapped in an oppressive small town?

Golino’s darned good, though the chic, waifish thing she physically is struck me as an odd choice for the kind of overwhelming-powerhouse-peasantwoman role that Anna Magnani used to play. The writer/director Emanuele Crialese gives the film a slightly magical, out-of-time aura and an open, unresolved finale. What will up-to-date American filmgoers — addicted as they are to wipe-you-out effects, and to being told exactly where to look and what to feel — make of a quiet, unforced experience like this one, where the whole point is to find your own way through it? That’s a luscious and magnificent (Rossellini, Renoir, Visconti — great names) tradition of filmmaking and film-experiencing that I’m sometimes afraid the world is losing track of.


About Paleo Retiree

Onetime media flunky and movie buff and very glad to have left that mess behind. Formerly Michael Blowhard of the cultureblog 2Blowhards.com. Now a rootless parasite and bon vivant on a quest to find the perfectly-crafted artisanal cocktail.
This entry was posted in Movies and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to “Respiro”

  1. Pingback: On Respiro

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s