Princess Cleopatra becomes Egypt's Queen and has an out-of-wedlock son with the son-less Roman ruler Julius Ceasar. Through two romances, she strives to protect Egypt from the Romans, and make her son the heir to Ceaser's Roman Empire.
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The great battles are the backdrop for the unfolding of the Egyptian Queen's personal life. Cleopatra's strategy is to seduce the Roman general Julius Caesar and Mark Antony to protect their civilization.
This film reunites the director, Eduardo Mignogna, and its star, Norma Aleandro. Having recently shown on cable, and not having a clue about what to expect, we took a chance in watching "Cleopatra", a confusing title because it has nothing to do with the Egyptian queen. The previous film, by Mr. Mignogna, "Autumn Sun", in which Ms. Aleandro played, is my humble opinion is a more polished work.
"Cleopatra" is also the name of the main character in the film. She has been a teacher until recently, when she was forced to retire by a reduction in force. Her husband, Roberto, also lost his job in similar circumstances. Where Cleo tries to look for other things to do, Roberto gave up on life as a depression takes hold of him.
When we first see Cleo, she's on her way home, sitting in an underground train. She falls asleep and misses her stop. To make matters worse, she must face her daily reality at home with an unresponsive husband, who, for all practical purposes, isn't there, at all. We learn that Cleo and Roberto have two grown up children, both living abroad because of the lack of employment at home. Her secret desire has been to become an actress, but she never pursued her dream.
Cleo goes to audition at a television studio, but fright gets hold of her and she freezes in front of the camera. In the ladies room she meets Sandra, a soap opera star who is kind to Cleo. Sandra ends up taking Cleo home. The next day both decide to go on the road in a voyage of adventure and self discovery that will change both women forever.
This is basically the premise of this Argentine road movie. The main interest in watching it is Norma Aleandro. This excellent actress of screen and theater, gives a nuanced performance as the middle aged woman who finally lets everything go to begin a new life. Ms. Aleandro is at times clever, sometimes confused, in her interpretation of the character. Ms. Aleandro is at her most charismatic self playing the title role.
Equally effective is Natalia Oreiro, a gorgeous new face, as far as this viewer is concerned. She plays the young woman that is at a crossroads in her young life. Evidently, she has lived an emotional roller coaster up to now and wants nothing of that life. When Carlos, played by Leonardo Sbaraglia, stops for the women, by now stranded after a minor accident, Sandra begins to realize there is more to life than what she has been able to experienced so far.
The film offers magnificent views of western Argentina. The province of Mendoza is captured by the director in all its beauty. The film sometimes feel flat, and of course, one has to make concessions in the sudden transformation of Cleo, from a meek housewife, into an adventurer who discovers a life she never knew existed.
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