Respiro (2002)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  22 May 2002 (Italy)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 3,943 users   Metascore: 65/100
Reviews: 47 user | 70 critic | 26 from

On an impoverished Italian island, a free-spirited woman is accused of madness by townspeople fed up with her antics.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Muzzi Loffredo ...
Pier Luigi
Avy Marciano ...
Velista Francese
Giuseppe del Volgo ...
Zio Pino
Matteo Solina ...
Zio Antonio
Vincenzo Barreca ...
Pasquale De Rubels ...
Francesco Edoardo Anglieri
Andrea Barreca
Donatella Battiali


Grazia is a mother of three who spends suffocating days packing fish while her husband Pietro is at sea. Her oft-erratic behavior leads Pietro into thinking she may need medical attention, and he prepares to send her off to a psychiatric institute in Milan. Their son Pasquale, the one person who understand his mother the most, vows to do whatever it takes to foil his father's plan. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for nudity and thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

22 May 2002 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Respiro  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$94,452 (USA) (23 May 2003)


$1,072,534 (USA) (14 November 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Referenced in Che saccio (2008) See more »


La bambola
Written by Ruggero Cini, Franco Migliacci (as Francesco Migliacci), and Bruno Zambrini
Performed by Valeria Golino and Filippo Pucillo
See more »

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User Reviews

The odyssey of a rebel housewife
6 June 2005 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

The movie gives us a vivid and ruthless description of the odyssey of a rebel housewife, described with passionate and emotional involvement without giving vent to any sort of conceptualism. This touching story has been inspired by the legend of a mysterious woman who disappeared a long time ago in Lampedusa (an island in the sea of Sicily, the southern point of Europe.). Grazia, the catalyst character of the story, a restless married woman of unusual habits, is considered a nut, an irresponsible person who can't participate fully in the life of society, being forced into total imagination. If it hadn't been for an out-of-date husband, maybe she would have turned her beauty to better account.

Unable to stifle her feelings and to bear the heavy burden of age-old customs, she blows a fuse, ready to abandon home, land and property to flee into the unknown. As the intolerant member of an archaic fishermen community whose behavior leaves much to be desired, not tuned to her same emotional wavelength, not contaminated by the standardization of the modern society, she's quite resolved to preserve every traditional values and social structures, without leaving space for human relationships not predetermined by time-honored customs faithfully handed on from father to son. In this forgotten land where the younger brothers strive to safeguard the reputation of their mothers, the alienated Grazia, (played by a touching and wonderful Valeria Golino), generally considered to be either a very wretched woman or, even worse, a lunatic one, is eager to undertake a journey towards the complete fulfillment of her hopes, yearning for the sight of her deep blue sea, complying with her inner desire for emancipation. In her unremitting efforts to achieve ultimate freedom, the same freedom bestowed by her upon the dogs waiting to be slaughtered, she strives to get over her existential dimension of illness, feeling like a fish out of water, with fear in her eyes, eager to feel the warm embrace of the sea, restored to a sort of primitive amniotic fluid and changing her uneasy feelings into unlimited pleasure.

The movie shows us the epos of a picturesque island where even the children's games reflect the savage nature of the surrounding environment. To be considered at the same time the celebration of a land and of rough people stubbornly bound together by a close friendship without any will to open up new horizons, conforming to precise religious rules (Our Lady's statue brought down the sounding-depth), careful not to mistake the will of sound emancipation for the abolition of every moral scruples. Decided not to be corrupted by vices of more developed social strata.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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