Malèna (2000) is a Italian,English,Latin,Greek, Ancient (to 1453) movie. Giuseppe Tornatore has directed this movie. Monica Bellucci,Giuseppe Sulfaro,Luciano Federico,Matilde Piana are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2000. Malèna (2000) is considered one of the best Comedy,Drama,Romance,War movie in India and around the world.
Malèna is about the peril of a beauty through the eyes of a 12 year old kid named Renato. He experiences three things on the same day, beginning of war, getting a bike and sees the arrival of Malèna in town. Through his eyes, we see the curse of beauty and loneliness of Malena, whose husband is presumed to be dead, and through his soul we see his love for her.
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On the face of it, this movie is about a young boy's fantasies as he falls in love with the image of an older woman. I say 'image' because he doesn't know her at all to begin with, but as he watches, her increasingly sad truth is seen through his eyes. It's also about Sicily during the war, but deeper than that, to me, it seems to be about the mob mind, jealousy and hatred and about how people tend to become what is expected of them, or don't. Monica Bellucci is undeniably among the sexiest women alive and her near wordless performance is mesmerising. My only criticism is the somewhat stereotypical way that the 'men' are portrayed. Perhaps there's some truth that we are all driven from an area below the waist, but I'd like to think it's not true of all of us. 8/10.
I found the film to be visually hypnotic and very moving. I was also impressed with the film maker's story telling technique. The film brought me into the bustling street life of the Sicilian village by eye-level camera work and the comments of the people in crowded scenes, through which I was taken with the characters. Just like walking down a busy urban street anywhere with your ears and eyes open. The film made me wake up to the fact that so much American film, perhaps all contemporary film, is composed mainly of close ups with two or a few people. Not this film. There is a sequence with airplanes overhead that is absolutely dizzying without any fancy 3-D or pyrotechnic effects. Mr. Tornatore brilliantly uses silent stares, pairs of eyes and silly dream sequences with amazing effect. The male lead, an adolescent boy, is portrayed with great empathy by Giuseppe Sulfaro without schmaltz or sanitizing, so typical in American films about puberty. The title role, played well by a dazzling Monica Bellucci, could have been written for a young Sophia Loren. (My dream sequence, I guess) My favorite character was Renato's father, hilariously played by Luciano Federico. A must see.
Malena is a beautiful and deeply touching film. It is a masterful combination of sites, sounds and colors. The two leading actors (Monica Bellucci and Giuseppe Sulfaro) are simply excellent at what they are supposed to convey in this movie. Apart from her truly majestic elegance, Monica Bellucci invests her character (Malena) with an aura of tragedy, of some profound and unrelenting emotional trauma and pain which remains unspoken throughout the film and reaches its climax at the very end. Malena's stunningly beautiful eyes remain constantly downcast, and her face -- tense and pierced through by psychic pain (she rarely raises her face, let alone speaks words). Renato (the teenage boy) wins his audience by his incredibly pure and valiant love for Malena (this affection he carries in his heart for several years). She becomes his muse, his courage, his sense of honor, his whole rationale for confronting difficult and disruptive life of the war-torn Italy. I agree completely with another commentator who said that the ending of the movie is perhaps one of the most genuinely melancholic moments in modern cinematography. Simply brilliant. Superb music! This movie should be watched several times to be fully appreciated.
Malena is a film that gives the impression that there are no innocent parties. The men are guilty of dirty, lustful thoughts (and some of more than just thoughts), the women are guilty of gossip, violence and probably more than a little envy, and Malena is guilty of being a homewrecker. But in looking back at the movie it seems that what caused the problems were two things gossip and something like insecurity. Roger Ebert wrote probably the most idiotic review I've ever seen him come out with about this movie. He missed the point of this movie even more than he missed the point of Memento, and his review of that movie was like a blind man describing a shooting star. He describes Malena as a schoolteacher "of at least average intelligence, who must be aware of her effect on the collective local male libido, but seems blissfully oblivious." Roger, seriously, are you joking? BLISSFULLY?? Did you sleep through this movie? She almost never speaks at all and never displays even the slightest hint of a smile. Given the extent of her depression and stifling sadness, it is astounding to me that anyone in their right mind could attach the word "blissfully" to any element of her character. I know what that's like though, because sometimes I completely miss something about a movie and I think that something else is the stupidest thing in the world because of it, at least until someone explains what I missed and then it all makes sense. Watch Malena, for example, walking through the central square in town at any point in the movie. If you think she keeps her eyes on the ground directly in front of her because she is in a state of pure, ignorant bliss, then trust me. You are missing something. I don't know if Malena was actually unaware of the effect that she had on the townspeople, but I find it nearly impossible to believe that she did. That thought actually never even occurred to me until I read Roger Ebert's gem of a review. Her behavior struck me much more like someone who had been dealing with such behavior from the men around for her whole life. I doubt very much that she doesn't understand the concepts of human physical attraction. Moving on. Set against the backdrop of World War II reminded me of Life is Beautiful, especially given the uncertain mix of comedy and tragedy. It wasn't as powerful on both sides here as in Life is Beautiful, but it was truly heartbreaking to see Malena suffering and trying to ignore the increasing tension that was being generated around her. It's hard to say that she was a victim of her own beauty, but it was really what drove all of the conflict in the story. The women at first seemed to be upset with their husbands because of their stares, and things got worse and worse because of the endless gossip which seemed to monopolize the talk of the entire town. If anyone was talking about anything, it had something to do with the latest sexual escapades of Malena. Women would not sell her good food at the town market, so she had to get it from men who expected things in return. There was a scene where an officer was at her home, but I don't think there was any indication that they had sex. It was clear that he was more interested than she was, and later it was her that wound up in court for having an amorous relationship with a married man in uniform. The courtroom performance of Malena's lawyer, by the way, is one of the highlights of the movie. I'm not really sure how to feel about the women involved in the climax of their collective hatred of Malena, because surely Malena did not sleep with the husband of every woman involved, and of those whose husbands committed no crime other than looking at a beautiful woman, what did they then think of their wives, who would do such a thing out of pure jealousy and envy? I'm a man myself; so I can't speak from a woman's point of view, but if your husband cheats on you, take it out on him. Don't go and beat up the subject of his affections, especially if it is nothing more than a beautiful woman that he looked at. Imagine all of the attractive women beaten up without knowing why. Weaving his way throughout all of this chaos is Renato, a 12-year-old boy who has conceptualized Malena as the ideal woman in all ways. He sees himself as her protector, desperate to save her from the tension that he sees growing around her, the unfair antagonism that is being leveled at her, for really no fault of her own. His identification of Malena as the subject of his developing sexuality reminded me of another great film, The Hairdresser's Husband. If you liked this, see that one, too. Oh and if you're Roger Ebert, maybe watch this one again. And stay awake this time.
Sicily, 1940. A teenage boy (Giuseppe Sulfaro) is initiated into manhood when his friends introduce him to the glories of Malena (Monica Belluci), the most beautiful woman in town. Sulfaro becomes obsessed, following her wherever she goes on his bike, and he even spies on her in her home. His obsession is not the only one, as much as he wishes and wants to believe it were - the whole town worships her. Every man wants to have her, and every woman is deeply jealous of that fact. And, man, does that make life hard for Malena - her husband is fighting the war in Africa, and the rumors are flying, making life nearly impossible. Sulfaro might see her as a sex object initially, but the more he observes the more he sympathizes. This film begins as an enjoyable comedy, but it grows deeply serious. The climax is one of the harshest, most potent sequences I've seen in a long while. One will recognize the nostalgic tone of the movie if you're familiar with Cinema Paradiso, but I think this is actually a stronger film. Excellent.