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Respiro (2002) More at IMDbPro »

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


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Emanuele Crialese (written by)
View company contact information for Respiro on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
22 May 2002 (Italy) See more »
On an impoverished Italian island, a free-spirited woman is accused of madness by townspeople fed up with her antics. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
19 wins & 9 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Magic realism and natural beauty See more (47 total) »


  (in credits order)

Directed by
Emanuele Crialese 
Writing credits
Emanuele Crialese (written by)

Produced by
Raphaël Berdugo .... associate producer
Domenico Procacci .... producer
Anne-Dominique Toussaint .... co-producer
Original Music by
Andrea Guerra 
John Surman 
Cinematography by
Fabio Zamarion 
Film Editing by
Didier Ranz 
Casting by
Stéphane Zito 
Art Direction by
Beatrice Scarpato 
Costume Design by
Eva Coen 
Makeup Department
Simona Castaldi .... makeup artist
Sabrina Romanelli .... key hair stylist
Ermanno Spera .... makeup artist
Production Management
Gianluca Chiaretti .... production manager
Luigi Lagrasta .... production supervisor
Michela Rossi .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Peppino Del Volgo .... assistant director
Federico Nuti .... assistant director
Leopoldo Pescatore .... first assistant director
Sound Department
Emmanuel Croset .... sound re-recording mixer
Patrick Egreteau .... foley artist
Steven Ghouti .... foley mixer
Hervé Guyader .... chief sound editor
Pierre-Yves Lavoué .... sound mixer
Nicolas Lefebvre .... dialogue editor
Marco Streccioni .... sound engineer
Camera and Electrical Department
Humberto Contini .... lighting assistant
Claudio Frollano .... gaffer
Sascia Ippoliti .... assistant camera
Ermanno Lubich .... focus puller: underwater unit
Roberto Luzi .... camera operator
Marco Santarelli .... key grip
Editorial Department
Franck Nakache .... assistant editor
Annie Pierre .... second assistant editor
Andrea Gargano .... final colorist (uncredited)
Music Department
Goffredo Gibellini .... additional score mixing engineer
Angelo Giovagnoli .... orchestra coordinator
Giannandrea Mazza .... music pre-production
Marco Streccioni .... score mix engineer
Other crew
Paola Sangiovanni .... script supervisor
Tiziano Tomei .... production assistant

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated PG-13 for nudity and thematic elements
95 min | Canada:90 min (Toronto International Film Festival) | USA:90 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Movie Connections:
Referenced in Che saccio (2008)See more »
La bambolaSee more »


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16 out of 19 people found the following review useful.
Magic realism and natural beauty, 9 November 2003
Author: Howard Schumann from Vancouver, B.C.

Emanuele Crialese's Respiro is alive, sensual, and transcendent. Set in Lampedusa, an island southwest of Sicily, it is a film about mothers and sons, accepting differences, and the power of love to bring renewal and reconciliation. Gorgeously filmed by cinematographer Fabio Zamarion, Respiro captivates us with its bright Mediterranean sunlight and the expressive faces of the people, tanned and strikingly beautiful. Winner of the 2002 Cannes Critics Week award, the film is based on a local legend about a mother whose behavior was found to be offensive by the community and whose subsequent disappearance was the catalyst that brought the people together. Crialese's film has the feeling of myth and legend but also the overtones of the great Italian realist dramas of the 50s and 60s.

As gangs of unsupervised pre-teens carry out intermittent warfare among the desolate beaches and rocky landscapes, everyday life centers on fishing. While the husbands do the fishing, wives work in the fish processing plant and the boys help out their fathers and catch fish to use as trade for a chance to win an electric train set. Grazia (Valeria Golino) is the wife of macho but loving fisherman, Pietro (Vincenzo Amato) and mother of three: 13-year old Pasquale (Francesco Casisa), younger brother Filippo (Filippo Pucillo), and older sister Marinella (Veronica D'Agostino). Golina is radiant as the headstrong young mother and Casisa's performance as Pasquale completely captures the budding sexual awareness of a pre-teen. The film reflects the warmth of the Italian family and the closeness that Italian sons feel for their mothers but also depicts the old-fashioned attitudes of the tight-knit community, especially the subjugation of women.

In a revealing scene, Pasquale's brother, the adorable but mouthy Filippo and his friends follow his older sister Marinella to a private meeting place where she is seeking privacy with a shy young policeman, Pier Luigi (Elio Germano). Affronted by their seeming public display of affection, Filippo, less than half their size, confronts the two lovers and threatens to beat them up unless his sister goes home immediately. Unfortunately, everything is not right on the island. Grazia's behavior is increasingly defined by erratic mood swings. She flings dishes across the room, swims naked with her sons, and releases a herd of dogs from captivity, but it is not clear if she is ill or just rebellious and the film walks a tightrope between suggesting madness or the eccentricities of a free spirit.

It is soon apparent that the community has their own thoughts about her actions and she is seen as a threat to the social order. When Grazia's antics threaten to reach the breaking point, Pietro's family decides to send her to Milan to receive psychiatric treatment. Pasquale, however, always understanding and protective of his mother, hides her in one of the many caves along the rocky shore, bringing her food and reporting news of the search for her whereabouts. The ending can be interpreted in many different ways but I was touched by its haunting beauty. Is it to be taken literally, a dream of Pasquale's perhaps, or a fairy tale constructed from legend? I'm not sure but in any case, Respiro's combination of magic realism, natural beauty, and humanistic message will have you pricing the tickets for a trip to Lampedusa.

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