by Mariantonietta Losanno

The latest film by Emanuele Crialese – presented at the 79th Venice Film Festival – stages everything that happens in depth and not on the surface; the one that lurks in hidden, narrow, suffocating spaces. We are in Rome, in the seventies; a couple has just moved into a new apartment together with their three children, Adriana – who wants to be Andrea – is able to feel more tangibly the tensions in her parents’ marriage. Clara and Felice, in fact, no longer love each other, but remain together because they are linked by them “Laces” that keep people together even when only resentment and suffering remain.

The director confesses, coming out of “his” hidden world: it opens up to the public through its characters, united by a condition of marginalization. “We must be brave to have the powers”, says one of the lines of the film: to have courage one must have particular potential, but – at the same time – to have supernatural abilities one must necessarily be courageous. A concept – that of courage – which consists (also) in the ability to accept oneself and be accepted by others. The film, in fact, revolves around “hidden” characters who try to “emerge”. Adrì wants her to be herself, Clara would like – conditionally because she shows less awareness than her daughter – to leave her husband before he unleashes all her violence against her. Two characters who live “restricted”, who seek alternative spaces and places of expression. On the one hand there is Adrì’s path which recalls the one faced by Céline Sciamma in “Tomboy”, which is first of all a story of formation and self-discovery; a work that focuses on adolescents in search of their own identity and sexuality, who, after having “discovered” themselves, must also find the courage to accept themselves. Crialese does not dramatize the issue, he protects the theme he faces by overcoming the categorization, focusing instead on the personal itinerary. Clara remembers Alba Rohrwacher in the adaptation of the novel by Domenico Starnone (the aforementioned “Laces”): a woman who, despite her infidelity and the awareness of having lost her husband’s respect, insists on remaining in a condition that makes her disaffected and leads her to annihilate herself. It forces itself to live in disaster and pain.

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Crialese uses music to mark the fundamental moments of his work: he cites the classics of Italian song, such as Adriano Celentano, Patty Pravo and Raffaella Carrà. Revolutionary icons and sources of inspiration. Its “immensity” is composed of the bourgeois drama, the desire to appropriate one’s body, the family, love, sexuality, the correspondence between reality and fiction.

“It’s my story in a poetic key, it would be an understatement to call it my“ coming out ”: the public would think of a film about transition but that’s not the case at all. […] It’s the film I’ve always chased: it was “my next film”, but each time it gave way to another story, as if I never felt ready, mature, confident enough. It’s a film about memory that needed a greater distance, a different awareness “, said the director. A reflection that prompts us to ask ourselves why to be courageous, why struggle to be able to “recognize oneself even without looking”, why leave when it is necessary to safeguard oneself.