Malèna: Wikis

  
  

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Malèna

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Giuseppe Tornatore
Produced by Harvey Weinstein
Written by Screenplay:
Giuseppe Tornatore
Story:
Luciano Vincenzoni
Starring Monica Bellucci
Giuseppe Sulfaro
Music by Ennio Morricone
Cinematography Lajos Koltai
Editing by Massimo Quaglia
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release date(s) October 27, 2000
Running time Edited Version:
92 minutess
Directors Cut:
109 minutes
Country Italy
Language Italian
Gross revenue $14,493,284

Malèna is a 2000 Italian drama/romance film starring Monica Bellucci and Giuseppe Sulfaro. It was directed and written by Giuseppe Tornatore from a story by Luciano Vincenzoni.[1]

Contents

Plot

The film is set in Sicily in 1940 during World War II just as Italy enters the war. Malena's husband, Nino Scordia, leaves to serve in the military. The silent, distractingly beautiful outsider learns one day that her husband has been killed. Malena feels sad and tries to cope with her loss, as the town she has just moved to tries to deal with this beautiful woman who gets the attention and lustful stares of all the local men, including the 12-year-old Renato. However, in spite of the villagers' gossip, she continues to be faithful to her husband. Renato becomes obsessed with Malena and starts fantasizing about her while masturbating.

Renato continues to watch as she suffers from loneliness and grief. Malena is shunned by the townspeople and the unattractive, jealous women of the Italian village, who begin to believe the worst about her, simply because of her beauty.

She visits her father, an almost deaf professor of Latin, regularly and helps him with his household chores. When a slanderous letter about her sexual morals reaches his hands, their relationship suffers a catastrophic blow. In the meanwhile, the war worsens. The village is bombed and Malena's father is killed.

She falls on hard times and eventually has no money. The wife of the local dentist takes her to court, but Malena is acquitted. The only man Malena does have an innocent romance with, an army officer, is sent away because of the trial.

Malena's poverty finally forces her to succumb to the greed and malice of the town and she becomes a prostitute, making the wives' fantasies about her a reality. When the German army comes to town, Malena gives herself to Germans as well. Renato sees her in the company of two German officers and faints.

His mother and the older ladies of the town think that he has been possessed by the devil and take him to church to exorcise the "demons." His father however understands that he is suffering from sexual hunger and takes him to a brothel; Renato has sex with one of the prostitutes while fantasizing that she is Malena.

When the war ends, the women of the village gather and, out of jealousy and hatred, publicly beat and humiliate Malena, who shortly after leaves for Messina. A few days later, Nino Scordia returns to town, to the shock of all the residents. He finds his house occupied by people displaced by the war. Renato tells him through an anonymous letter about Malena's whereabouts.

Nino goes to Messina to find her. A year later, they return. The villagers, especially the women, astonished at her courage, begin to talk to "Signora Scordia" with respect. Though still beautiful, they think of her as no threat claiming that she had wrinkles near her eyes and put on some weight.

In the last scene near the beach, Renato helps her pick up some oranges that had dropped from her shopping bag. Afterwards he wishes her "Buona fortuna, Signora Malena" (good luck, Mrs. Malena) and rides off on his bicycle, looking back at her for a final time, as she walks away. As this final scene fades out, an adult Renato's voice-over reflects that he has not forgotten Malena, even after the passage of so many years. He says, "Of all the girls who asked me to remember them, the only one I remembered is the one who did not ask." The audience is left not knowing if Malena ever realizes Renato's feelings for her.

Cast

  • Monica Bellucci as Malena Scordia
  • Giuseppe Sulfaro as Renato Amoroso
  • Luciano Federico as Renato's Father
  • Matilde Piana as Renato's Mother
  • Pietro Notarianni as Professor Bonsignore
  • Gaetano Aronica as Nino Scordia
  • Gilberto Idonea as Avvocato Centorbi
  • Angelo Pellegrino as Segretario politico
  • Gabriella Di Luzio as Mantenuta del Barone

Critical reception

When first released Variety wrote, "Considerably scaled down in scope and size from his English-language existential epic, "The Legend of 1900," Giuseppe Tornatore's Malena is a beautifully crafted but slight period drama that chronicles a 13-year-old boy's obsession with a small-town siren in World War II Sicily. Combining a coming-of-age story with the sad odyssey of a woman punished for her beauty, the film ultimately has too little depth, subtlety, thematic consequence or contemporary relevance to make it a strong contender for arthouse crossover. But its erotic elements and nostalgic evocation of the same vanished Italy that made international hits of Cinema Paradiso and Il Postino could supply commercial leverage."[2]

Film critic Roger Ebert compared the film to Federico Fellini's work, writing, "Fellini's films often involve adolescents inflamed by women who embody their carnal desires (e.g. Amarcord and ). But Fellini sees the humor that underlies sexual obsession, except (usually but not always) in the eyes of the participants. Malena is a simpler story, in which a young man grows up transfixed by a woman and essentially marries himself to the idea of her. It doesn't help that the movie's action grows steadily gloomier, leading to a public humiliation that seems wildly out of scale with what has gone before and to an ending that is intended to move us much more deeply, alas, than it can."[3]

Music

The soundtrack was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.

Awards

Alternate film poster

Wins

Nominations

References

  1. ^ Malèna at the Internet Movie Database.
  2. ^ Rooney, David. Variety, film review, October 30, 2000. Last accessed: March 1, 2008.
  3. ^ Roger Ebert. Chicago Sun-Times, film review, December 22, 2000. Last accessed: March 1, 2008.

External links








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