We grow up on dreams and then dream to grow.
Before reviewing this film I would share my personal account related to this. In college, adolescent movies, porn used to be discussed and when I was in one such discussion a friend told that he was fascinated by this movie. I downloaded it and privately watched it alone expecting this to be a very evocative and a sexual movie. Now it was all to my surprise, it turned out differently. A week later, I showed this movie to my friend Raghuveer. Initially, he was interested in nude scenes (coz I got to know of this only through him) but once the film began, we both completed it. And after a week when I called him to know what he was doing, he just said, he was dreaming and thinking only of Malena. That was the impact. I got back to this 2 years later while in job but the reaction was the same by my other friend. Now today when I watched it, I was again satisfied coz this is one of the most compelling stories that stood out in time.
Hmm, to review this movie is a tough job for me coz it's difficult to judge what you love the most. I love Monica Bellucci thoroughly in the movie and while younger, fantasized about her the same way Renato did in the movie. It's a story of how cruel beauty is to self and how beautiful it is to the eyes of the beholder. Malena's only curse is she is beautiful in a village filled of demons.
It is one of the most simple stories told and still it kept me going because the way camera works and each scene be it an adolescent or a court room fight, or even a dream sequence just made me feel something if at times happy then at times sad and in fact very angry. So each scene did move me, they touched me for sure and that's where the writing of the screenplay is a winner. Mind you, it is based on a short story and this can be anywhere and at anytime. Though based on world war 2 in Italy, the theme is universal, it's of abuse and how beauty is used.
A kid has a dream but is still helpless and most adults are powerful but devoid of compassion. While in movies, nudity comes as an X factor or for publicity it is very precisely used here to take the story forward and rather substantiate the theme.
The music by Ennio Morricone grips you and empathizes with the characters emotions be it a chase on a cycle or a song La Amore, they are very aptly placed and used. The way camera moves tells you what the whole village is talking and what each character is about. The art direction takes you back to the time of world war 2. So everything is done well but acting by Giuseppe Sulfaro (son of the director Giuseppe Tornatore) is terrific. I think, since the director could not romance Monica, he let his son do just like a scene where the father takes the son to brothel when he realizes his son has grown up. And Monica is quite a revelation with silence she spoke a lot.
Spare the nudity please, if that was not there this could just be another story.
Thank you Tornatore for such a compelling film and thank you for showing Monica Bellucci as the ultimate beauty whom every man should crave for.
It's 4/5 for this one. Many may not like it but I will go with Malena any day.