If you’ve been reading my blog and haven’t yet seen many Italian movies but would like to try one, there’s a good one being offered right now on Time Warner Cable. “Luce dei miei Occhi”, Light of My Eyes. Starring the object of my affection, Luigi LoCascio, it’s a love story, but a pretty messed up one. Here, from a previous entry, is my review of Light of my Eyes – it would be an excellent place to start if you want to know more about movies being made in Italy today.
From October 29, 2010
Everybody likes to say that modern Italian movies are all the same. Tarantino said it and Italians say it all the time, but they can’t have seen all of the movies. They can’t have seen Luce dei Miei Occhi.
Plenty of American romantic movies are the same. They start like this: The girl’s sworn off men because someone has just dumped her or she’s in a relationship but the guy’s an asshole. Either way she’s not looking. Along comes another guy that seems all wrong in every way and she despises him – until he does something adorable and then she loves him, the end.
Luce dei Miei Occhi is not that movie. In this one, the girl (Maria) is not looking but it’s because her mother told her she’s not worth anything and that no decent man could ever love her. She’s in a relationship with a (married) asshole but she’s an asshole too, neglecting her daughter to sneak away with him. The other guy (Antonio) comes along and he’s adorable but he’s a sap so she keeps him around to mind her store and babysit when she wants to see her boyfriend. Social services is on her back and she’s about to lose her daughter and she needs the help. She sleeps with Antonio (as kind of a thank you ) but the look in her eyes afterwards as she lies in bed with him says that she wasn’t into it and she’s a little disgusted with herself.
Meanwhile Antonio is doing all kind of crazy, dangerous things to help her (anonymously) and risks his life and his job for this woman who has shown no real interest in him. “Sorry, I’m not that excited by you,” she tells him, “but I warned you.”
Unfortunately I get Antonio. He’s the kind of person that has just never fit in that well and is at a loss as to how other people do it. He is constantly outside in the streets looking into stores and restaurants watching people living their lives and he studies them but can’t be one of them – I don’t even think he wants to. He meets Maria and her daughter and sees the dissociation from society in their lives and believes that they are alike. I think he just doesn’t have the social skills to get it – that she really is blowing him off.
And yet this is a love story – you just get to write your own ending.
Antonio is played by my favorite -Luigi Lo Cascio – who can say more with his eyes than any other actor I know, and Maria is played by Sandra Ceccarelli. They won best actress and actor awards at Venice for these roles.
This movie walks such a fine line – it’s isn’t a happy, perky love story, but it isn’t overly dark and depressing either. It’s just real. And it’s different from any that I’ve seen.