Emile Hirsch (Diego) is the only American in the cast. See more »
[on the other end]
May I speak with Gemma?
This is Gemma.
Gemma? Gemma, is that really you?
Yes, Gemma. It's me
See more »
Margaret Mazzantini's very popular novel 'Venuto Al Mundo' (English translation 'brought into the world') has been transformed into a screenplay by the author assisted by the director (her husband) Sergio Castellitto, the film in English is now called TWICE BORN. It is complex story, beautifully sculpted with interlocking flashbacks that cover a 30 year period, photographed with great skill by Gianfilippo Corticelli, and a cast that makes this carefully integrated story of varying timeframes work splendidly. Much of the film's beauty is in the complexity of the manner in which the story develops and revealing too much of that story would spoil the experience for new viewers. Very basically the story relates a mother who brings her teenage son to Sarajevo, where his father died in the Bosnian conflict years ago. But more needs to be added.
Italian professor Gemma (Penélope Cruz) visits Sarajevo with her son, Pietro (Pietro Castellitto, son of the writer and director). The two of them had escaped the city sixteen years ago while the boy's father, photographer Diego (Emile Hirsch) remained behind and later died during the Bosnian War. As she tries to repair her relationship with Pietro, Gemma is forced by revelations to face loss, the cost of war and the redemptive power of love. She re-acquaints with her dear friend Gojco (Adnan Haskovic) and together they relive the horrifying experiences of the war in Sarajevo, Gemma's attempt to provide her beloved Diego with a son (she is sterile), the eventual plan to have Diego use musician gypsy-type Aska (Saadet Aksoy) as a surrogate for the couples much desired child, and the consequences that plan takes on, leading to a series of identity crises that the now older Gemma must face with her teenaged son Pietro. The story is structured on alternate scenes from the trip taken in present in Bosnia by Gemma and her son and flashbacks from the two time periods (of the first encounter and the war), a technique that at times is difficult to follow but that definitely enhances the tension of the story.
The cast is extraordinary: Penelope Cruz is dazzling, Emile Hirsch gives his most sensitive performance of his career, and Adnan Haskovic, Saadet Aksoy and Luca da Filippo (as Gemma's father) are outstanding. This is a difficult film in message but a profoundly moving drama. Highly Recommended. In English, Italian, and Bosnian.
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