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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
A perfect, moving and soulful adaptation of the beautiful novel upon which it's based
A couple of days ago I watched NON TI MUOVERE on its opening night.
Well, I think that it's a true masterpiece ... gripping, heartfelt, as kudos-deserving as the best-selling novel of the same title upon which it's based, written by Margaret Mazzantini (here she is the co-screenwriter and also appears in a glimpse-like wordless cameo, at the end of the movie), winner of the Strega - one of Italy's main literary prizes - in the year 2002.
The director and male lead Sergio Castellitto - who plays the cowardly ambiguous surgeon Timoteo - is as immense as always. He's also the other co-screenwriter of the movie. He's - above all - author Margaret Mazzantini's husband of many years. His was clearly a true labor of love.
Penélope Cruz is astounding, realistic and yet heartbreaking, enormously moving, totally disappearing into her character, who's a poor, destitute, cheaply dressed and unkempt woman named Italia. She cleans hotel rooms for a living and lives herself in a slum, but has got the purest and noblest of souls ("She's a toad in a miniskirt who teaches the Prince how to love", in actor-director Castellitto's own words).
Comedy actress Claudia Gerini - in her first highly dramatic role as the guy's betrayed wife - is very, very good herself.
Last but not least, the Castellitto-Cruz chemistry is amazingly powerful: much more so, say, than the Cruise-Cruz one in Vanilla Sky, enough said ...!
I cried my eyes out, even though I had read the novel more than once, therefore perfectly knowing the story!
HERE is a movie which I definitely want to watch multiple times.
As for myself, well, after two days I'm still re-living all the marvelous, emotionally intense moments which I enjoyed while watching this movie.
Really nothing in Penélope Cruz's resume will prepare you to what she does here, not even what I think was her best performance before this movie, i.e. Sister Rosa in Pedro Almodovar's ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER ... nothing indeed! Not to mention that she acts here in Italian language, and she commands it perfectly.
Just to get an idea of her greatness in this movie, here are actor-director Sergio Castellitto's words at the press conference for the movie, which took place in Rome on March 9th:
"Penélope is heartbreaking, she's as great as [Federico Fellini's wife] Giulietta Masina [in the movie La Strada], what she did for this movie is amazing: a lesson of humbleness, passion and courage. But beware! Her act of courage is NOT the fact that she became ugly, this is a silly thing which you use to read everywhere, but it's wrong; to become ugly for a movie, for an actress like her, who then comes back to her natural beauty, is actually a privilege. Her act of courage, instead, was how she succeeded in building her character's misery: she got on this horse and she did ride on it, without any radar equipment, with a total faith, asking just for one thing: 'I want to act with my own voice, at any cost'. And since I'm an actor myself, I just take a bow in front of a person who tells me: 'nobody will touch my own voice'. Anyway, did you hear her? Did you hear how good she is? She gave a true diction lesson to so many, many Italian actresses ".
And what about Sergio Castellitto himself? This extremely charming and intelligent man has been an acting God for more than twenty years here in Italy; he's an uncanny mix of subdued and brainy acting, total sincerity, powerful emotions in display, instant ability to deeply inhabit any character ... and despite his 50 years of age (he's 20 years older than Penélope), they are absolutely MORE than believable as a mismatched couple of lovers who're overwhelmed and bewildered by a passion which they can't explain, not even to themselves. Like I said above, they share a burning-hot chemistry, which is not only a sexual one but a sentimental one as well.
Moreover, I honestly think that I had never seen in ages such a faithful literary screen adaptation: the novel blends into the movie and vice versa. The one takes new life and new breath from the other.
The opening sequence in the rain, shot from a great height (I'd say that's the same technique of the opening scene in Vanilla Sky), is stunning ... and from there on, the movie flows easily, always vividly and painfully alive, with no lazy moment, at no slow pace, even though it mainly relies upon a subtle psychological analysis of the characters, with those glances, those conversations, those all-important small gestures, those confrontations, those deep feelings in display ...
I hope that this movie will be adequately distributed in the U.S. also. All those involved in it truly deserve to get a wide recognition for their excellent work.
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