Cert: 12A Year: 2002 Length: 95 mins Language: Italian
Valeria Golino, Vincenzo Amato, Francesco Casisa.
Respiro is an evocative, subtle dramatisation of the life of a particular family who live within an isolated fishing community on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa. The film concentrates on the trials and tribulations that beset the beautiful, but emotionally unstable, wife of a fisherman and a mother of three. It is, however, much more of a tapestry, not only paralleling a local folk tale, but also stitching together vignettes of a society that seems almost completely removed from modern day existence. The stark beauty of the sun-drenched island is used to great effect as a backdrop for the characters' domestic disputes and miniature dramas and provides haunting images superbly shot by cinematographer Fabio Zamarion. Golino is suitably gorgeous, but the find is Casisa whose burgeoning physicality and maturity, thrown into a protective role as he is forced to deal with oddities of his mother's behaviour, is a major contribution.
Best Film, Critics' Week Cannes 2002
A life-affirming film, strong in its energy, about vivid characters
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