Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Valeria Golino, Vincenzo Amato, Francesco Casisa, Veronica D'Agostino, Filippo Pucillo
Director: Emanuele Crialese
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
A sunny seaside location and the radiant beauty of Valeria Golino are enough to set the mood in Respiro, a fitfully effective Italian film. Hollywood never quite figured out what to do with Golino, but she blossoms in this... more »
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Are there still people and places like this?
stan smith | 02/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Poking around the internet for reviews of this film the words "inscrutable," "pointless," and "underdeveloped" keep cropping up. Could my taste for film really be that bad? Upon reading the reviews, however, it becomes apparent that most have missed the point of the film. Respiro is about a fishing village in Lampedusa and probably thousands of other small villages in the world where AN EFFORT TO FEIGN OR SHOW RESPECT (face-saving) goes a hell of a long way.Pietro is a fisherman who acts like the bad-ass patriarch in public, but is soft as a marshmallow at home. One scene that showed this is when a neighbor demands punishment for Pietro's son's for misconduct, Pietro manhandles the kid then placates the man by asking him to whip the boy. When the man refuses and tells Pietro to discipline the kid himself, a quick and subtle expression hesitation flashes across his face before he belts the boy a few quick ones. This act of deference to the neighbor is immediately accepted with gratitude and almost relief by the plaintiff, and all is settled.Another humorous scene shows Pietro telling his wife Grazia to take a hike because he is engaged in "man-talk" with a couple of pals. When she leaves we find out the conversation is about Pietro's son winning a train-set at a toy stall.This sort of phony machismo is also played out in fights the village youth gangs engage in. No one really throws punches but instead everyone rolls around on the ground. This ritualized fighting appears to allow all to let off steam without developing true animosity.Even the local cops feign machismo by engaging in a not-so-high speed chase of three harmless girls on a Vespa.Grazia, being manic-depressive, has a hard time with these kind of games and embarrasses others. Not knowing how to deal with her, the village suggest sending her off to an institution to Milan. When the angry Grazia learns of this she hides and is thought to have committed suicide. This elevates her status to that of a saint, and when she is found all are happy not because their "saint" has returned but because all can PRETEND to believe their "saint" has returned--thereby condoning her continued existence in the village.Respiro is about these kinds of communities where people don't sue or kill each other... What is sought is "Face." This is quite like how dogs relate to each other. Agressive behavior is displayed to elicit submission from the other dog, and as long as everyone follows this rule all is fine. In fact this example shows up in the film where Pietro, who is afraid of the family dog, gets rid of it because he is threatened by it's growls. He feels demeaned because he doesn't command respect from the dog."
Good, despite deception in the marketing of this film
Andy Orrock | Dallas, TX | 03/28/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I enjoyed my actually viewing of 'Respiro' - especially director Emanuele Crialese's stunning underwater photography (most notably in one of the most unique and mystical endings ever filmed) and in seeing that someone finally figured out how to make use of Valeria Golino's quirky beauty. US audiences will recall her from her appearance 17 (!!) years ago as a 22-year-old stunner in 'Rainman.'
What I didn't like about 'Respiro' was the US marketing of this film and need to deceive renters/buyers. First, there's the tagline used stateside: "As unique as the paradise she lived in." Ummm, no. Crialese's Lampedusa is hardly one depicted as paradise. We see its working-class residents struggling to scratch out a living, and are given the feeling of an island so disconnected from mainland Italy so as to lag and suffer behind the times.
Next, we get a cover image of a smiling Galino and on-screen husband Pietro (as played by Vincenzo Amato). While there's no doubt that Pietro deeply loves his wife, this sunny scene between the two never comes close to reflecting the on-screen relationship. Pietro falls into the category of "long-suffering" with a wife who is almost certainly an undiagnosed manic-depressive (Galino's mother-in-law complains of 'highs that are too high and lows that are too low').
Third, there's the blurb on the back of the box that says "some even say she is crazy, but her youngest son is the only one who knows the truth." Well, they're not even paying attention here: Galino's protector is her *oldest* son, Pasquale. And, far from knowing the truth about his mother, he is simply out to shield her from the withering chatter of the town's residents, who quite literally have driven her from the town.
I'll encourage those of you who have seen and appreciated "Respiro" to try the recent "I'm Not Scared," which - much like 'Respiro' - depicts the often-suffocating pressure of raising a family in a small, distant town."
Just 'Breathe' in the Joy of this Special Tale
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 11/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"RESPIRO is one of those Italian treasures of a film, this time written and directed by the insightful Emanuele Crialese, that isolates humanity in a place where all the joys and foibles of living become cogently the entire point of the story. RESPIRO mixes the gut-level Italian response to life with the surreal flights of fancy made famous by Fellini.
Lampedusa is a Mediterranean island between Sicily and Tunisia that is baked by the sun and is far enough away form the culture of Italy to be a return to the native. The population is all involved in fishing. On this picturesque island lives Grazia (the beautiful and talented Valeria Golina) who appears to be a wonderfully free spirit but is actually a bipolar personality. She lives happily with her fisherman husband Pietro and her children: teenage Marinella (Veronica D'Agostini), Pasquale (Frncesco Casisa - a very fine little actor!) and Filippo (Filippo Pucillo). The boys adore their mother and their father and often make excuses for their mother's wild behavior patterns to the villagers who view her as a menace.
When Grazia's actions come under scrutiny by Pietro and he considers the advice of the grandmother (Muzzi Loffredo) who occasionally gives Grazia tranquilizing injections when her manic side surfaces and suggests Grazia needs psychiatric help in Milan, Grazia runs away to hide in a grotto, her whereabouts are known only to Pasquale.
The little village mentality merges and the people search the waters for what they feel must be the death of Grazia, only to discover on St Bartolo's Day that Grazia is blithely swimming in the ocean. How this affects the village and the lives of this tender family is the secret of the movie: revealing the ending would dissipate the joy of RESPIRO. Suffice it to say that the closing footage will simply take your breath away!
This little treasure of a movie has some of the most imaginative photography - both above and below the surface of the surrounding ocean - of any film you'll see. The music by John Surman is pitch perfect and atmospheric. The way director Crialese captures the folklore-like behavior of the youngsters' games, and the married-to-the-sea philosophy of the villagers, is utterly magical. This is a movie that celebrates those raw emotions of being human that seem to be eroding into the cultural pablum of contemporary society. RESPIRO is a glowing reminder of the worth of a return to Eden. In Italian with English subtitles. Grady Harp, November 2004"
A. Shavit | New York, New York United States | 11/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the most painfully beautiful movies I have ever seen. This is a sensitive fascinating tale. The scenery is magnificent, the characters are so real unique and funny, the plot takes the right pace and the culture of the fisherman's vilage where it takes place takes you to a faraway journey about love, relationships and growing up. My date for the movie is now my gf. And I almost forgot to mention, the ending is a happy one. What more would you want of a movie?"