Oct-Dec 2010 Screenings
2002 - Emanuele Crialese - 90 - Italy/France
Fri 26 Nov 2004 at 8.30pm
Astor Cinema, Scariff
Midnight Court Rating: 3.0 (4 votes)
Storyline: After nine years in New York, I dreamed of being isolated for a while and that’s how I found Lampedusa, a small Italian island southwest of Sicily. The landscape there has something mythical about it and the light is primitive and magical. I soon had the desire to photograph this arid, dusty place. Respiro is inspired by one of the island’s legends – the story of this young mother, looked down on by the townspeople. They thought she was crazy because she was outside of the social rules of the small community she lived in. I wasn’t interested in faithfully reproducing actuality and I didn’t want to make a realist or naturalist film. I wanted to maintain the tone of a legend or fable; I wanted a magical realism, with reality alternating with a dimension of fantasy. – Emanuele Crialese
A seductively evocative mood piece, Respiro sketches with delicacy and skill the deep bonds of a loving family, the lazy rhythms of life in an isolated fishing community and both the tranquillity and torpor of an environment seemingly untouched by the passage of time. Valeria Golino is captivating as the free spirited Grazia, a mother of three driven by the desire to bring joy to those she loves – her husband Pietro (Vincenzo Amato with no actorish mannerism to strain his credibility as a rugged fisherman), her children, and the mangy dogs that hang around their house.
In a rich mosaic of life in the community, the portrait of the island kids and their network of friends and enemies is particularly effective and full of fresh, natural hum as they play around the port, wait for returning fishing boats, scamper across the rocky cliffs and combine innocent pastimes with cruel, more brutal games. The mostly non-professional cast is impeccably handled especially the three principal children. Relations between them, with their parents and, in particular, the boys’ quasi-romantic, fiercely protective feelings for their child mother are beautifully rendered.
Emanuele Crialese (born Rome 1965) went to the US in 1991 to study film at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts and stayed in new York where he shot his first feature, Once We Were Strangers (97), a romantic Green Card Comedy in English, which was selected for Sundance - a first for an Italian director. He returned to Italy to make his Cannes International Critics Week Grand Prix winner Respiro (02).
“The break-out hit of the year....Pure Magic” - Film Review
Winner - (Grand Prize) Critics Week / Cannes Film Festival 2002
Winner - (Best Feature)Young Critics Award / Cannes Film Festival 2002
Winner - Audience Award / Cannes 2002
Verdicts from the Midnight Court