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Luigi Lo Cascio,
Antonio is a lonely man who works as a driver of luxury cars. Outside of his work, he spends his time reading science fiction novels, and, especially by night, driving through the streets of the city. One night he meets Maria, a lonely woman, and her daughter Lisa. He manages to enter in their life, and starts to take care of them. He discovers that Maria owes a lot of money to an usurer, and starts to pay her debts, but without letting her know of this. He dedicates with total abnegation to Maria, up to the point of losing his job, but she seems to remain indifferent to his love. Until... Written by
Loneliness, Alienation, Desire and Need: A Quasi Romance
LIGHT OF MY EYES ('Luce dei miei occhi') is more a fantasia on theme of loneliness and need for love than it is a straightforward narrative story. Under the direction of Giuseppe Piccioni, who co-wrote the screenplay with Umberto Contarello, it shimmers like and extended poem, a theme so delicate and so suffused with melancholy that it remains as an echo long after the film is over.
Antonio (Luigi Lo Cascio) is a sweet dreamer who respects his station in life as a chauffeur for customers about Rome, following the rule of 'Know when to talk and when to shut up' his boss has set as the standard. In his lonely ennui Antonio narrates his life in a voice-over monologue as a man named Morgan, a character with whom he identifies from his science fiction novel. His life takes on some meaning when he prevents an accident from happening with a young girl Lisa (Barbara Valente) who lives a lonely life with her lonely mother Maria (Sandra Ceccarelli) whose life is divided among making a living in a not too successful frozen food shop, a frustrating sexual attachment to a cold married man, and trying to hold her little home together since her husband's absence. Gradually Antonio's act of protecting Lisa is acknowledged by Maria and while Antonio is quite taken with the distant Maria, Maria thanks him in a brief and passionate but isolated sexual experience. Maria is needy, Antonio is needy, Lisa is needy, but somehow the connection cannot be made: Maria must concentrate on her lack of income to support Lisa.
Antonio, seeing the need to assist Maria's financial situation, allows himself to accept a chauffeur job that involves illegal smuggling of foreigners. Maria's response to her desperate situation is to allow Lisa to be cared for by her grandparents. In a moment suggestive of the old Christmas tale where the man buys combs for his wife's hair while the wife sells her hair to by a gift for her husband, Maria and Antonio face the misunderstanding of their 'friendship' and all seems lost until each changes a significant event that opens a communal door of caring and hope for something more for the little trio.
Both Lo Cascio and Ceccarelli are fine actors and make these difficult roles wholly credible. The atmosphere of the film is well defined by the adroit camera work of Arnaldo Catinari and enhanced by the musical score by Ludovico Einaudi. This is one of those very small films that may evade the casual film-goer not only due to the inappropriately poor DVD cover art but also by the lack of proper promotion. It is a word of mouth success in this country. In Italian with English subtitles. Grady Harp
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