Malèna is about the peril of a beauty through the eyes of a 12 year old kid named Renato. He experiences three things on the same day, beginning of war, getting a bike and sees the arrival of Malèna in town. Through his eyes, we see the curse of beauty and loneliness of Malena, whose husband is presumed to be dead, and through his soul we see his love for her. Written by
Another (though smaller) masterpiece from Tornatore
Directed by Guiseppe Tornatore one of my favorite film makers who made the Oscar Winning best film Cinema Paradiso. In this film Italy is just about to enter WWI after being dominated by Mussolini for several years. Suppose you were a 12 year old boy who was not yet as mature as your friends but at least you got yourself a new bike & then you find yourself really attracted to an older woman in town. (Malena played by extremely beautiful & well built Monica Bellucci) This 13-year-old boy (Renato) & his obsession with a small-town outcast woman in World War II Sicily make for a beautiful tale. Renato catches his first glimpse of shapely Malena , the daughter of his deaf Latin teacher (Notarianni). Instantly hooked hormones raging, Renato starts following her everywhere, indulging in keyhole spying & frantic masturbation. Though he never catches her attention she is drawn into elements of the war to survive & is outcast & beaten by local women at the end of the war. In the surprise ending her husband arrives alive after all at the end of the war. Malena combines a coming-of-age story with the sad journey of a woman punished for her beauty. With strong erotic elements & nostalgic cinematography it gives us a great (though simple) story & great views of a vanished pre-war Italy. These are the traits of film maker Tornatore used to make international hits of Cinema Paradiso & Il Postino. Production wise this film is a class act showing rich period detail of Fran. Frigeri's production design & Maurizio Millenotti's costumes. Cinematographer Lajos Koltai's gives us a truly beautiful warmly lit screen making the most of the Sicilian locations & the long stretches of the sun drenched port a(which was reconstructed in Morocco) Music Wise there is Ennio Morricone's insistent score which works well to enhance up the poignancy & emotional resonance of the film especially in the final scene. Many panned this movie I disagree I loved it & found it enchanting. Five stars
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