Burned-out, over-the-hill actor Giovanni returns to Bologna for the funeral of his twin, Pippo, a wealthy suicide unlucky in love. The family tells Pippo's mother it was an accident, but ... See full summary »
Burned-out, over-the-hill actor Giovanni returns to Bologna for the funeral of his twin, Pippo, a wealthy suicide unlucky in love. The family tells Pippo's mother it was an accident, but there's a problem: Vanda, Pippo's one-time fiancée, won't grieve and refuses to come to the funeral. At a family dinner, Vanda talks about the note Peppo left. Again the family tries to keep mom in the dark. They assign Giovanni to persuade Vanda to keep up appearances. He sees her unhappy relationship with her father, who suspects her of sleeping with a doctor. Why she sees the doctor, how Giovanni and she deal with their mutual attraction, and his rebirth become the film's focus. Written by
Marco Bellocchio's "Gli occhi, la bocca" is not an attempt to remake "I pugni in tasca" (1965), nor an essay born out of the vanity of self-quoting. It's true that the leading player (Lou Castel) is the same of the previous film, and that "I pugni in tasca" is quoted and even shown at one point (where we can see - from an oblique screen - the scene of Lou's mother assassination in black and white); but this is only because Giovanni, the character played by Lou Castel in THIS movie, is an actor and perhaps the same one who appeared in "I pugni" back in '65. What concerns Bellocchio here, aside from family problems and bourgeois maladjustment, is the question of the running of time. Castel says: "Time flows, we're always the same", and nothing changes. How are we to accustom to the problem of life's length? We're usually driven by popular wisdom to say that life is too short, but what if it were, in fact, too LONG? The only solution to this would be suicide, and in fact Giovanni's brother, Pippo, shots himself just before the film starts. How would Giovanni react to the tragedy, and Bellocchio with him? A reflection about the "entire lifespan" which separates "I pugni in tasca" from "Gli occhi, la bocca" is in order, and those seventeen years become the symbol of the entire problem of time and our maladjustment in it. Well worth watching and watching again, "Gli occhi, la bocca" gains more strength with the passing of years because this is one of its main issues. Now that we are in 2006, "I pugni in tasca" is forty-one years behind us and there's more than one reason to shudder. The only rejuvenating cure cure, then, is watching the new Marco Bellocchio's masterpiece, "Il regista di matrimoni" (The Weddings' Director, out now in Italy). The new film shows that, if Giovanni has hopelessly aged as perhaps WE have, Marco Bellocchio has not -- like Pippo, who in "Gli occhi, la bocca" refused to grow old.
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