27
Aug 03

What to make of Respiro?

Do You SeePost a comment • 144 views

What to make of Respiro? A lovely sunny movie, plenty of quaint island shenanigans with lots of cute kiddies running around being absolutely beastly to one another. Or a disturbing film about mental illness. It wants to be the former, I was drifting near the latter.

It is a slight movie with not much in the way of plot. In between the pitch battles between the gangs of teenage boys, and the flirting of the elder daughter with a new policeman, occurs a slightly dark tale of madness. Valerie Golino plays Grazia the mother of said rabble, who seems a bit daffy early on. Later she has a few fits, throws stuff about and is the picturesque side of a bit nuts. The locals, used to everything being picture postcard on their island want to ship her off to a bonce doctor. And so Grazia, with the help of one of her sons, goes into hiding.

The resolution to the tale leaves us all a bit up in the air. But then the film is a bit like that, trying to offer a slice of life. Problem is it is never quite clear what her diagnosis is. Daffy or dangerous? Leaving us with a love conquers all ending does not help, since in this case it is quite clear that love has not conquered all and there is still the spectre of further bonkersness to be faced. The random nature of her attacks, coupled with her protective nature will leave the character vunerable to the constant barbs of the rest of her community. The issue of her being shipped off to a shrink has been merely postponed.

We do get to see another glimpse of movie madness though (as seen in such diverse films as What About Bob? and A Beautiful Mind. People are never properly nuts in the cinema, they just break things and pull faces. Golino does this a lot here, it is unclear exactly why she is dangerous. Unless the wind changes).

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