Agata e la Tempesta (Agata and the Storm)
Agata e la Tempesta (Agata and the Storm) is practically a Pane e Tulipani reunion!
Gustavo, played by Emilio Solfrizzi finds out that he was adopted (traded for a sewing machine) when he was a baby and has a bit of a freak out. With his adoptive sister Agata’s help (Licia Maglietta) he gets to know his new family and makes some life changes. Almost all of the characters are cute and quirky, with Agata blowing out electrical circuits, Gustavo’s wife (Marina Massironi) on TV doing wacky pop psychology and his new brother (Giuseppe Battiston) with a bunch of crazy business ventures.
L’Attesa (The Wait)
In L’Attesa, Juliette Binoche plays Anna, a mother in mourning who receives an unexpected guest; Jeanne (Lou de Laâge), Anna’s son’s girlfriend, arrives for the Easter holiday and hasn’t heard the news. She enters the darkened Sicilian villa; mirrors are covered and everybody’s in black. She’s clearly confused and concerned, but she’s told that Anna’s brother has died.
Why the lie? Anna stubbornly keeps up the ruse in a desperate attempt to pretend that it isn’t true. As she assures Jeanne that her son will arrive soon, she can put off the horrifying days the lie ahead, the worst nightmare for any mother. Binoche, though a French actress playing a woman born in France, is, here, a Sicilian Mamma to the core, and her stoic intensity pairs with the film’s, at times, dizzyingly strung-out tone.
Il’ Comandante e la Cicogna (Garibaldi’s Lovers)
A stork and an elevated statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi look down on a decaying Italian civilization, providing social commentary on a plumber (Valerio Mastandrea), his dead wife (Claudia Gerini), his daughter, and his oddball son try to make their way in it. A starving artist, played by Alba Rohrwacher and her flaky landlord (Giuseppe Battiston) round out this quirky loves story.
Cosavogliodipiù (Come Undone)
Women who have been cheated on may get some satisfaction from Cosavogliodipiù (Come Undone) because as movies about people having affairs go Cosavogliodipiù is less glamorous, the sex less hot, and the lovers less satisfied. At times I found myself wondering what it was about the whole thing that kept Anna and Domenico interested in keeping the thing alive. They were hurting everyone around them, spending money that they didn’t have, lying, and giving us no indication of how they felt their lives would be better if they left their spouses and stayed together, and yet they couldn’t stop.
This time a movie focuses on the problems of infidelity. Rather than trying to make us feel that the poor lovers are unfortunately with the wrong people and somehow deserve these stolen moments,this is a self destructive couple that is self destructing.
La Doppia Ora (The Double Hour)
La Doppia Ora has something that not many modern Italian movies have – a fear factor! There were a few things that made me jump right out of my seat, and I found myself covering my eyes. And it was done in the best kind of way; the threat was hidden in the shadows, waiting to jump out and say “boo” at any given moment.
Kseniya Rappoport is Sonia, who meets Guido (Filippo Timi) speed dating and at first they appear to be a couple of poor damaged souls that gets lucky at another chance at love. It doesn’t take long to realize that in this movie, appearances are always deceiving.
La Finestra Di Fronte (Facing Windows)
On paper, Ferzan Ozpetek’s La Finestra di Fronte (Facing Windows) looks ridiculous. It’s the story of a horny, dissatisfied housewife who loves to bake, lusts after her neighbor and makes friends with an elderly holocaust survivor. Sounds like a sentimental Lifetime movie, I know. It just didn’t feel like one.
This is my favorite of Ozpetek’s work and my favorite of Giovanna Mezzogiorno’s, who plays Giovanna, the horny dissatisfied housewife. She’s like a lot of women – for any number of reasons she may have married the wrong guy. She’s smarter, more driven, and more responsible than her husband and is starting to resent having to carry the weight of the entire family. Watching the extremely hot, single neighbor, Lorenzo, played by Raoul Bova, (my goodness he’s handsome) has become her escape from reality.
Pane e Tulipani (Bread and Tulips)
Pane e Tulipani (Bread and Tulips), my favorite of all time, speaks for all women, everywhere, who have been unappreciated by their families.
When Rosalba gets left behind at a rest stop, she runs away from home and looks for adventure.