Friday, November 16, 2007

Look!!! She is here : Malena - A movie review.

Well, two things at the begining:
  • This is a movie for the matured audiences in India.

  • This is an Italian Movie in Italian Language , watch it only if you don't mind reading subtitles.

I would like to start talking about this movie with the last dialogue of the movie. A grown up Renato, who was once a teenager, narrates the story, ending it saying :

"Time has passed, and I have loved many women.
And as they've held me close, and asked if I will remember them,
I've said, "Yes, I will remember you."
But the only one I've never forgotten is the one who never asked

... Malena. "

Its Malena's story from Renato's eyes.

Everyone, in their teenage days would remember their infatuation with someone which turns almost into obsession. You watch the object of your desire move around, you try and learn as much about him/her as you can, you try to follow, you try to overhear, you try to secretely desire, you fantasize, but you never let the other person know anything about it.

The movie is about this infatuation of a young boy Renato (Giuseppe Sulfaro) , well you can call it pure love the way he sees it, with an older married woman Malena (MonicaBellucci) who does not even know him.

Renato's First touch with beauty : His Bicycle and Malena ...

The time of the story is set in 1940, during world war II, as Italy goes in to the war and radios all around buzzing with the updates of the war.

On one of these days of 1940, two things happen to 12 year old Renato, one he gets his new bike and two he sees Malena for the first time. As the movie starts Renato's father (Luciano Federico) buys him a bicycle like all the big boys of the town. And powered by this new gift Renato is allowed to join the gang of old boys and do things that the grownups do. Along with the gang, he waits for Malena, who arrives walking by, making Renato feel the power of beauty by very looks of hers. The first sight and our Man is infatuated.

They Love Her...

She is extremely beautiful. She is the one desired by all, old, young, very young, in the town. Her magic makes heads turn in the market. Every one as she passes across the streets of the town, stares at every part of her body. The clothes seem to disappear in the looks of the men in the town. Everyone has a lustful eye on her. Everyone wants her. And so does Renato.

They Hate Her...

Ladies in the town, everyone, feels that she is making people fall for her delibrately and feels that she is not a good woman.

But Renato feels differently.

Powered by the unknown forces of teenage he keeps following her. He keeps waiting for her on the roads of town, infront of her house, at night peeping through holes in her house, at night following her in his dreams and fantasizing just the way everyone else does. He writes letters to her, but does not have the courage to hand it over to Malena.

Courage defeats Renato... he chases her just to run away from her..

His life is changing as he is discovering more of her following her to her father's house, following her at night through the holes in her house to see her dancing with her husband's photograph. A young lady whose husband has gone to Africa to fight in the war, whom she has not heard of since long, with whom she loves dancing on a romantic tune.

Her husband Nino Scordia (Gaetano Aronica) is missed by her dearly as she walks down the town with dishonouring stares looking at her, poking her mind with disgrace she hardly could bear, hearing abuses from the women all around for being so beautiful. She needs protection.

"She was too Beautiful and he was too young to protect her."

And so he visits church, prays god to protect her for some more years till the time he grows up. He is the only one in the town who knows her now through the escapades at night around her house.

He knows she is a honest woman, loving no one else except her husband. He knows she is longing for her. He knows there is no other man after her husband in her life... except him. He wants to tell her all this and more, writes letter, but could never find the courage to hand it over.

As he fights his way through the sexual needs in his life, with his father helping him through it (taking him to a prostitute), Renato discovers how strongly he loves Malena, and how much he wants to protect her. He keeps taking revenge in his own small ways with the people in town who are bad mouthing Malena. News of Nino Scordia, Malena's husband, dying at the war front makes everyone think that she is now "available". Her Father dies in the meanwhile in an air strike on their town.

Everyone wants to put their hands on her.

She is not having any source of income now. And a dentist in the town is obsessed with her to a point that he proclaims her to be his fiancee. Dentist wife sues Malena, a lawyer fights a case for her. With nothing to pay his lawyer, and lawyer wanting something more than money, she is forced to give in. She loses her honour as Renato can do nothing but watch. Man after man everyone exploits her. She is disgraced for money, for food and for everything in her life. Renato could do nothing as he sees her cutting her hairs through the hole in her house. Malena turns to prostitution.

She moves on to bed all the soldiers in the town, forcing her to live a life that she herself finds shameful.

When the women in the town gets a time to revenge, they beat her up and shaves her head, to throw her out of the town. She leaves with a heavy heart, punished for her life for being beautiful. Renato follows her till the station as she leaves. But can do nothing but see.

By the time you feel that the movie is reaching its gloomy end, comes Nino Scordia, who was not dead but has lost his hand. He is searching for his wife in the town, no one is going to tell him where she is as no one knows what happened to her after she was beaten up. One man knows.

Man-to-Man he writes ...

He writes a message to Nino, telling him that he is the only man who knows the real truth about his wife. He has learned a lot about courage but couldnot find enough to talk to Nino "Man-t0-Man" and he tells him how dearly she loved him and where did she go from there.

Well his life changes as much as hers by this revelation.

Life moves on, Renato finds a girlfriend, Nino finds Malena and brings her back to the town. The town now finding themselves guilty tries to friend Malena.

And for the first time before running away from her Renato talks to her wishing her

"Buona fortuna, signora Malèna " ( best luck, Madam Malena).

He runs away from her to remeber her for ever.

The story by Vincenzoni which every one who has ever been a teenager would relate to makes you go through the love, the desire, the angst and the fears of the young boy.

Well what makes the movie really special is the acting by the two lead actors. This movie was official introduction of Monica Bellucci to the American audiences. She and no one else would have looked so beautiful in the role she played. She looks absolutely mesmerizing with her beauty and charm.

The boy makes you relate to him instantly and you see how good an actor he will be in future. Most of the time in the movie Malena does not speak anything and most of the times Renato is speaking to himself. And its acting in these scenes that make the movie beautiful.

The scenes when Renato goes to the church and prays for her, when he looks at her crying from seeing her cut her hairs, when women beats her up, and the last scene are very well shot. The movie is at times funny, at times sedcutive and many times emotional.

The era is beautifully shown through the cinematography and the sets in the movie. The screenplay (Tornatore and Vincenzoni) is sinful and hooks you to the screen for knowing more about HER. The very charm of Malena captures you as the war goes on in background.

The editing (Massimo Quaglia) could have been better. Original music by Ennio Morricone is great, especially the composition," Ma L'Amore No ". Cinematography (Lajos Koltai) is equally mesmerizing.

The unidimensional thought process of a young mind, sexual at times, obsessed generally and pure in intention works both for and against the movie. The whole mood of the movie comes from it and it gets kind of monotonous after a while. Well i watched an edited 92min version of the film and there is more to it in the European cut of 110 min. Sexual overtones involving a teenager might not be recieved very positively with all the audiences and that gets a little too much if it goes on to 110 min.

If you like Monica Bellucci watch it for her. If you just like watching different kinds of cinema and want to try this one, its worth it.

A 3* movie anytime to be watched for all its human connection that you may find yourself identifying. Its a movie from 2000, you can get the DVD in the nearby store.


jessica said...

hieee where can v get the dvd of this movie in pune???

sara sohaib said...

Amazing movie. i like this movie very much.

Anonymous said...

an Awesome movie i agree. The story lives on forever. and amazing narration you've given in the blog. a perfect description of the movie directly from the heart.

Anonymous said...

Wow man what a narator u r ? Realy if anybody just listen this he will bring movie that moment only. The moview is very nice.

thanks n keep going

AddMe - Search Engine Optimization