Respiro (4)

 Copyright © 2003 by Tony Medley


 This is not a movie for everyone.  Itís a story of two people trapped in a marriage in a small Sicilian fishing village on Lampedusa, a small island closer to Tunisia than it is to Sicily.  Grazie (Valeria Golino) is a beautiful mother of two boys and a Sophia Lorenesque teenage daughter, Marinella (Veronica DíAgostino), married to fisherman Pietro (Vincenzo Amato), who is struggling to hold his family together.  Why?  Because Grazie displays periodic mental instability, like going swimming topless with her sons in public, blowing her top when Pietro disciplines their son, and generally acting goofy on occasions.  Because her actions impact everyone in the small village, they want her to go to Milan for treatment.  She reacts violently.  Older son Pasquale (Francesco Casisa) tries to help her but his childish solution just makes things worse.

 Through its beautiful cinematography, Respiro captures the claustrophobic life in a small Sicilian fishing village with nothing to do. Marinella deals with her awakening sexuality by coming on to a local policeman.  Younger brother Fillipo (Fillipo Pucillo) causes trouble wherever he goes, especially tormenting Marinella and her boy friend.

 Even though this is a lusty, brawling group of people, this movie takes its time getting to wherever itís going.  Some might find it terminally slow.  The two women, Golino and DíAgostino, are gorgeous and Amato has rugged good looks that should attract women. 

One of the unique things about this movie is that it not only examines the relationship between Grazie and Pietro, it also develops the relationships between the children and each of their parents.  Unfortunately, the inscrutable ending makes one wonder if it was worthwhile sitting through. In Italian with subtitles.

 May 18, 2003

 The End