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Facing Windows
Facing Windows
Actors: Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Massimo Girotti, Raoul Bova, Filippo Nigro, Serra Yilmaz
Director: Ferzan Ozpetek
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Military & War
R     2004     1hr 42min

A young working-class wife and mother unlocks a freedom within her heart that she never expected. Don't miss this critically-acclaimed, award-winning romance.


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Movie Details

Actors: Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Massimo Girotti, Raoul Bova, Filippo Nigro, Serra Yilmaz
Director: Ferzan Ozpetek
Creators: Gianfilippo Corticelli, Ferzan Ozpetek, Patrizio Marone, Gianni Romoli, Tilde Corsi
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Military & War
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 11/02/2004
Original Release Date: 06/18/2004
Theatrical Release Date: 06/18/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 42min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: Italian
Subtitles: English, French

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Movie Reviews

Friends and lovers
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 10/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Facing Windows" is without a doubt the most beautiful film of last year... that nobody got to see. Despite winning the Italian Best Film Award in 2003, the movie went virtually unseen in the US. But it's a haunting, lush tale that, once seen, is virtually impossible to forget.

Kindhearted and scatterbrained Filippo (Filippo Nigro) encounters a befuddled old man in the streets, and takes him home to be cared for by his young wife Giovanna (Giovanna Mezzogiorno). It's the last thing Giovanna needs -- aside from two young children, she has a rotten job and a fraying marriage that has lost its spark. She also is falling in love with the handsome young man (Raoul Bova) in the window facing hers.

But the old man, Simone (Massimo Girotti), has problems of his own, including flashbacks to a violent murder in 1943. He and Giovanna start to become friends, as he teaches her how to bake pastry like a true chef. The old man's memories start to unfold in a tragic story during the Holocaust, giving guidance to what Giovanna wishes to do with her life.

"Facing Windows" is a heavy movie -- it tackles marital problems, responsibility, Alzheimer's disease, homophobia, infidelity the Holocaust, and having your passions as the center of your life. But at its heart, it's about a woman waking up from a half-life, and reshaping things to the way they should be. Not to mention that the mountains of pastry will make viewers drool.

Ferzan Ozpetek draws viewers in as the movie becomes ever more mysterious and intriguing -- it starts off mundanely, with a flashback and a vision of a couple bickering. But the dramatic intensity begins to build, Ozpetek weaves a spiderweb of tension around the four people -- the old man, and the love triangle. His use of enigmatic flashbacks doesn't spoil the mysteries of old Simone/David's past, but rather enhances them.

Giovanna Mezzogiorno is superb as the same-named character -- she has that rare presence that fills up the screen and spills over. Her restrained performance is worshiped by the camera, which lingers all over her face. Massimo Girotti gives a subtler, but equally good performance as the old man, kindly and haunted by his tragic past.

"Don't be content to merely survive" -- nobody knows that lesson more than someone who never really got to live his life. Passionate and poignant, "Facing Windows" is a lush, beautiful look through the soul's window."
Facing West
MICHAEL ACUNA | Southern California United States | 08/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Facing Windows" (La Finestra Di Fronte) is about the mis-connections, the social and personal things that keep us apart, keep us from loving how and whom we really want and doing what we really want to do.
Giovanna (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) is living a life that she doesn't want: she loves her children and her job pays well but her husband Filippo is irresponsible; jumping from one job to the next: he's the proverbial child-man never accepting responsibility for his actions.
One night when Giovanna and Filippo are out for the evening they come upon an old man, obviously not a bum, who is disoriented and speaking of things long gone by. Over Giovanna's objections, Filippo takes the man Davide (Massimo Girotti) home with them. However grudgingly she does, Giovanna comes to realize, through the course of the film, that it is fate and good luck really that has brought she and Davide together. And more to the point it is Davide who snaps Giovanna out of her self-imposed ennui by telling her: "Your problem is that you've turned your passion (making pastry) into a hobby when it should have been the foremost thing in your life."
"Facing Windows" operates on several levels: as a detective story, as a love story and as a story of family and of marriage. But more importantly, it is about Giovanna waking up and realizing her potential and her dreams of fulfilling it; things like many of us, she has squandered and suppressed for a thousand "good" reasons.
Simple, but very watchable.
Sharad Yadav | 07/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"After watching the movie you'll wonder if it was the simplicity of the movie or the overwhelming charm and beauty of Giovanna Mezzogiorno that captivated your attention. I guess it is a combination of both (however, I am tempted to give more marks to the sparkling beauty of Giovanna Mezzogiorno).
Giovanna and her husband run into an octogenarian (played by Massimo Girotti) suffering from partial amnesia on the streets of Rome. Reluctant to leave him alone, they bring him home for the night. He doesn't speak much, but after some coaxing by Giovanna's kids, he reveals his name as Simone. For some inexplicable reason Giovanna's husband does not take Simone to the police and Simone lands up staying with their family for a few days. In the mean time relationship between Giovanna and her husband gets strained and in a trite twist, Giovanna gets attracted towards a smart looking man living across the street (and has facing windows).
Simone's memory relapse continues and he mysteriously wanders into old city, knocking on the doors of an old shop (Simone has a number etched on his forearm, which is a tell-tale insignia of a Nazi prisoner). One day, Simone goes missing and Giovanna embarks on a mini investigation to track him down. She manages to locate him. Simone is actually a very well-off ex-baker (and also a queer) who had rescued many prisoners from the Nazis. Simone teaches Giovanna some trade secrets of baking excellent cakes/pastries and indirectly advices her to avoid succumbing to temptations of an extra-marital fling with the neighbor. Giovanna overcomes her temptations, starts her life anew by starting her own bakery and accepting her husband again.

The story is very simple, but the execution is wonderful. Watch it ... you wont be disappointed."
Contemplative Drama of High Caliber...
Kim Anehall | Chicago, IL USA | 06/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Windows have often have a symbolic value that some connect with looking towards the future, curiosity, opportunities, hope, and much more. This means that the title Facing Windows could suggest a number of different allegorical interpretations, which is for the audience's own analysis. Nonetheless, the title also proposes that a person who is looking through the window must take initiative by facing the window, or a symbolic interpretation would be futile. The Italian film Facing Window presents a visual experience that plays with the notion of dreaming and taking the initiative when opportunity presents itself.

On the way home, Giovanna (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) and her husband Filippo (Filippo Nigro) come across an old disoriented man who wants to give Filippo some money. Sympathetically Giovanna expresses that the man should put the money away and she tells her husband to leave the man alone. Despite Giovanna's plead to leave the man alone Filippo insists on helping the man, as they bring him to their home. Under Giovanna's protest, her husband lets the man stay at their home overnight without consideration of the children at home. The following day Filippo promises to bring the old man, who they learn goes by the name Simone, to the police station, but to Giovanna's irritation, the old man is still at home when she returns from work. However, there is the second scene in the film while the initial scene will make more sense after the end credits.

During the stay, Simone sits and observes the family, as if he is trying to recognize something. On one occasion, he watches Giovanna bake some pastries while giving her some good pointers. This is the first time she makes a connection with Simone who she is supposed to bring to the police station after she has sold her pastries at a local bar. She leaves Simone in the car while dropping off the pastries when her neighbor Lorenzo (Raoul Bova), whom she has been secretively studying from her window, informs her that the Simone has wandered off. With the help of Lorenzo, she finds him, but she is more interested in Lorenzo. Her connection with Lorenzo explores another more figurative meaning of what windows can produce through voyeurism, which is something Hitchcock dwelled over in Rear Window (1954).

Instead of bringing Simone to the police station she brings him back home, which is Giovanna's first initiative that will affect her future. She learns that Simone is a survivor of a concentration camp, as he has tattooed numbers on his forearm and she wants to help find someone who knows him. Simultaneously, Lorenzo intrigues her while her friend encourages her on to have an affair with him. Her marriage with Filippo also seems to hit rock bottom, as her husband is nothing like Lorenzo. On top of this, she has to take care of two children and work at a poultry factory as an accountant due to her husband's inability to keep a job, which has hampered her from pursuing her dream of being a pastry chef. Despite all her obstacles, Simone will help put things in perspective, as he becomes the catalyst that ushers her over the hurdles that obstruct her full potential.

Facing Windows displays several symbolic ideas through terrific mise-en-scene and cinematography that visually suggest hope, opportunity, and dreams. In addition, the cast performs with genuine emotions that brings out the individuality in each character. All of these intangibles are tied together in a fantastic script that cleverly produces authentic highs and lows. Through the ride in between these highs and lows the audience will find a captivating story that offers both contemplation and drama at a very high caliber."