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While waiting for the brain surgery of his daughter Angela, victim of a motorcycle accident, the surgeon Timoteo (Sergio Castellitto) recalls his torrid affair with and passion for Italia (Penélope Cruz), a simple woman from slums in the periphery of the big city where he lives. The ghost of the beloved and sexual object of desire Italia chases him in his memories. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Emotionally intense movie handled unflinchingly by lead actor Castellitto. This immersive character study into an unfulfilled doctor's love affair is a tad too lengthy and perhaps the director indulges in his on screen action a little too much, but the dedication that the two ill-fated lovers give to portraying the rawness of their emotions and instincts will, despite once in a while misfiring, leave few viewers unfazed. Penelope Cruz is great as the counterpoint, and deserves much respect for assuming such a demanding, unglamorous role at this point in her well established career. Obviously it is the love of acting that propels her(no comparison to her English jobs), as this mildly received Italian film must have been several notches down from her draw, but when you see the psychologically harrowing sex scenes (not always for the sex, but for the right before and right after) you realize why someone would be interested in such intimate work. As the film slightly overextends itself to reach it's climax which sort of dumbs down it's poignant theme, the performances and overall taste left are nonetheless real and life affirming despite all of it's muddied ramifications.
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