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Don't Tell
Don't Tell
Actors: Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Luigi Lo Cascio, Alessio Boni, Stefania Rocca, Angela Finocchiaro
Director: Cristina Comencini
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Special Interests, Mystery & Suspense
R     2006     2hr 0min

When Sabina?s father dies, she is left haunted by a terrible dream that becomes a living nightmare. She seeks out her only sibling hoping to find an answer? while keeping her daunting journey a secret to those she loves m...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Luigi Lo Cascio, Alessio Boni, Stefania Rocca, Angela Finocchiaro
Director: Cristina Comencini
Creators: Cristina Comencini, Fabio Conversi, Giovannella Zannoni, Giovanni Stabilini, Jacqueline Quella, Francesca Marciano, Giulia Calenda
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Special Interests, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Lions Gate
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/15/2006
Original Release Date: 03/17/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 03/17/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 2hr 0min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, Italian
Subtitles: English, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

The Damages of Suppression
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 08/19/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"'La Bestia nel cuore' ('The Beast in the Heart' released in the USA as 'Don't Tell') is an intense Italian film written and directed by Cristina Comencini that tackles subject matter so visceral that the telling of it requires complete concentration from the audience in order to feel the power of the impact at the end. It is a tough film to watch because of the story, but it is a superb film to watch because of the excellent cast and production crew.

Sabina (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) is introduced to us in a cemetery where she is arranging for the interment of her dead parents: the mood for the story is subtly set. Sabina is a dubbing actress for translating films into Italian, a 'sell-out' acting job compared to the life of her live-in boyfriend Franco (Alessio Boni) who is a stage actor being tempted to accept a role in a TV series which pays more money than the stage. Sabina confesses she wants to get pregnant, she does, and with her pregnancy she begins to have nightmares of shadowy childhood memories. She is afraid to discuss these with Franco, or with her best friend Emilia (Stefania Rocca) who is blind and has been in love with Sabina since childhood. It seems the only person with whom she can confide her secret fears is her brother Daniele (Luigi Lo Cascio) who has moved from Italy to Charlottesville, VA where he is a professor at the University and has a happy family life with wife Anna (Lucy Akhurst) and two children. Sabina flies to the US to be with her brother and in the course of their reunion the two siblings uncover the beasts in their hearts: sexual abuse from their father now departed. How this discovery alters their lives is the dénouement of the film.

There are many subplots - infidelity on the part of Franco while Sabina is away, a lesbian relationship that develops between Emilia and another of Sabina's friends Maria (Angela Finocchiaro) - and Comencini draws subtle parallels between these twists along side the main story of incest discovery. Yet without concentration, these subplots can become distracting.

The acting is on the highest level and the changing locations are shot by cinematographer Fabio Cianchetti with sensitive respect of the nuances of suggestion encased in each place. The uncredited musical score is an admixture from Robert Schumann's piano sonata to contemporary works and serves to heighten the actions and mood. In Italian with subtitles. A film well worth watching. Grady Harp, August 06
Don't Bother
John Grabowski | USA | 07/23/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)

"I always thought that while movies about incest were shocking in, say, 1975, that path had been well-worn. Not to say that I'm only looking for shock in movies, but I found this renouned drama to be rather flat and bloodless. Sure the acting is good, but the script is rather pedestrian, the characters uninteresting, and after the end we don't get a sense that much has changed. And it's all told so slowly, with lots of portentious flashbacks (it reminded me in that regard of Barbra Streisand's Nuts, another overpraised film) as though there's this great profundity when in fact there's nothing but banality. I was waiting for the twist, the surprising insight, but it never came. The video box is plastered with awards and nominations, but compared to the ground-breaking Italian cinema of Fellini and De Sica and other, lesser names, this is banal television. Can't say I'd recommend this, unless you're looking for something light. Yes, light. It seems odd to describe a movie about incest that way, but 2007 isn't 1975."
It is that which we hide from others that most defines us.
Z. Freeman | Austin, TX | 01/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Or something like that. It seems that this is perhaps the central theme of this beautifully directed Italian drama.

A woman is troubled by a dream of being molested by her father, and is afraid she has awakened a memory that she has repressed for years, so she goes to America to visit her estranged brother and his family and try to talk about the sensitive subject matter and address issues that might be troubling her.

Don't Tell covers the delicate ground of child molestation and how, as adults, the victims try to deal with the painful memories. It also covers other very emotional territory, like the cheating nature of men (every man in the film at some point cheats on his lover, leaves her, talks about having done so, etc.) I don't know if that part of the story is in the original novel, or if it was added because the film was directed by a woman. Either way, it feeds the relationship doubt that women already have.

Don't Tell is a very moving and superbly acted film. There is not a lot of action, but the intensity of the story carries the movie along, until the end when a strange montage on a train really detracts from the ultimate impact of the movie, and seems like it will leave most viewers, myself included, simply feeling confused.

It's definitely clear why this film was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the 2005 Academy Awards, and if you're in to troubling dramatic films, this is definitely one to check out."
Italian Cinema At It's Best
Michael C. Smith | San Francisco, CA United States | 06/30/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Who say's Italian cinema is dead? With such films as "The Best of Youth", "Bread and Tulips", this marvelous film. "Don't Tell". The Italian cinema is alive and thriving more so now than it has since the fading of the masters Fellini, De Seca, and Visconti.
Film is the only great art from of the United States. We have no other artistic history that we can call truly ours. In Italy there is a great history of art and literature that is original, groundbreaking and innovative. Italian cinema as more in common with American film than it does with the rest of Europe. The Epic was born in Italy with "Quo Vadis" in 1913 and the advancements of the Italians influenced D.W. Griffith and others in burgeoning Hollywood.
American films were loved in Italy pre 1939 and after the war as well. Each country has devoured the other's film product with gusto and learned in the process what great cinema could be. The two cultures influence and shaped each other's new art of the 20th century. Operatic, melodrama, and grand sweeping emotions are at the core a staple of both cinemas. So what does this have to do with "Don't Tell" you may wonder?
This brilliant film is bi-national, in that it is set both in Italy and the United States. It has a sense of blending of the two cultures and there differences as well in doing so it shows an Italian point of view of America. It is a great and revealing thing to see the USA from a European perspective. This jumped off the screen for me and added a deeper layer to the film
The story is indeed deeply moving and the film's cast does remarkable work in the telling of the story of repressed memory and what happens when it is awakened. Of particular note are Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Alessio Boni , and Luigi Lo Cassio (These two actors played the brothers in the incredible "The Best Of Youth" and it is a treat to see them again working together.) The film is richly presented with some wonderful cinematography. A film I highly recommend to lovers of Italian cinema.