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First off I want to say there will be no spoilers.
I was lucky enough to catch the premiere screening of "Twice Born" at the premiere at TIFF. I didn't know anything about the film and the only person involved that I recognized was Penelope Cruz. This is a very ambitious film. It intertwines many different stories from present day, and back about 20 years in the past. It follows Penelope Cruz's character Gemma as she goes to Sarajevo with her son on a vacation. This bring backs memories, and we are shown all the events that took place in her life about 20 years ago.
Now, I don't think I've ever commented on the makeup of a film but I have to applaud it here. The characters makeup is so good, that you totally by the time gap between the 20 years. The script of this film is good. Not anything amazing. What brings me to give this film such a high rating, and one of the best films of 2012 (even though I've yet to see The Master, Looper,Argo, To the Wonder, etc) is the visuals. This film is shot so beautifully that it reminded me of the best film of 2011 "The Tree of Life".
An odd thing to point out is that for about the first hour and a half of this film I had my eyes on giving it a 7/10. The last half hour or 40 minutes is so magnificent and executed to near perfection that I recommend anyone to see this film for this alone.
The performances (led by Penelope Cruz) are great, and the characters all have a distinct and widely different personality's. Go into this movie with an open mind not knowing anything about the story and i'm sure that you'll enjoy it as much as I did. Like the review written before mine, I would like to salute the cast, crew, and especially the director for pulling off such a wonderful film. I hope you anyone reading this review will go out to see this film, as I'm sure it will land on my list of 10 greatest of the year.
I hadn't read the novel by Margaret Mazzantini, but was enough prepared for the toughness of the story, however, I was deeply shocked by the harshness of the drama. The movie is certainly well built, being the director the novelist's husband, he could probably render best the real substance of the story and the characters. Moving forward and backwards in time is not something new, but always a gripping technique, letting the viewer catch the progress of the story little by little. Indeed, there's no haste in a sometimes too slow movie, the second part far better than the first, with a very good historical reconstruction of a debased Sarajevo under siege, because of a war we Europeans have forgotten too quickly. I liked the performances offered by Penelope Cruz, very intense but well balanced, Emile Hirsch is really great and there's a good empathy between the two. There's also an international variety of incisive, unconventional musical choices, from Nirvana to Bruce Springsteen. Sometimes overenthusiastic, they undoubtedly prove very forceful and the scene of bombing on the notes of "Something in the way" leaves the mark. On the whole, a very dramatic movie, where the horror of war and of the human species certainly prevails, but with a sense of hope which I found soothing and in a way necessary.
As I liked a lot the last movie directed by Castellitto and with
Penelope Cruz based on a book by Margaret Mazzantini, I was sure I
would like this one, even if I know the story would not be an easy one
and quite a tragic one.
I absolutely adored the performance of Emile Hirsch, wonderful actor, absolutely great in the role he had her, wish there would be more movies with him. Cruz is also fantastic. And, as as someone very interested in the Bosnain war, and who wishes to visit Sarajevo so much, it was also interesting that the story was settled there, in a war forgotten by the world.
The whole story can be at some point difficult to understand, but this movie is absolutely worth to be seen.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Saw the world premiere at TIFF, and was repeatedly surprised by how
deep this film could go.
Even though I was a bit skeptical at first about the "love connection" between Emile Hirsch and Penelope Cruz, their performances and the wider story took over, and the casting started to make perfect sense.
In addition to being a generally riveting film throughout, what I liked most about this movie is that it challenged my sense of moral self-righteousness. Every time I thought a character's actions were unforgivable, I learned something new about them, and had to rethink my judgments. I think it's hard for a film to do that convincingly and this one did.
I haven't read the book this was adapted from, but I now plan to. Excellent movie and the people behind it should feel proud!
This time the translation in Hebrew got it right, following the
original Italian title which says 'Come to the world' rather than the
English title 'Twice Born'. The film is indeed about bringing children
to the a world in conflict, and it's a powerful love story taking place
during one of the most tragic and absurd war in Europe in the 20th
century (but what war is not absurd?), a war that placed one against
the other neighbors and friends who were the same blood and spoke the
same language, the differences being buried back in history, mostly of
religious origins. 'The best stories are sometimes the weird ones'
tells one of the characters, and this is indeed a strange and a
complicated, but also a very emotional love story taking place in
The story alternates between the time today, the period back 30 years ago when Communist Yugoslavia still existed and Sarajevo was known to the world as the location of the 1984 Winter Olympics, and the city 10 years later when it became the battle place in one of the most bloody episodes of the ethnic wars in the Balkans. It tells about the obsessive falling in love of two young and idealistic 'western' professionals Gemma and Diego (Penelope Cruz and Emile Hirsch) who happen to meet in Bosnia, then part of Yugoslavia, attracted there mostly by the original culture of the Balkans and by its people. They soon meet a group of mostly young and idealistic artists of the same kind who seem to live happily, aiming to create and make their world better. For much of the first half the story focuses on the love story of the couple, and the hurdles they meet on the road (they cannot have a child of their own). And then war breaks in this area which was not only the crossroad of the empires, but also their battlefield. The empires are gone, but the conflicts continues perpetuated by religion and by politicians. The world of the heroes blows apart.
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). I liked the way director Sergio Castellitto kept perfect balance between the love story, the descriptions of the falling of Bosnia into war and the war itself, and the coming to age of the son (the directors own son Pietro Castellitto acting) all three threads are clear, articulate, and conclude in a way that makes sense. To the excellent acting of Cruz and Hirsch I need to add the name of the Bosnian actor Adnan Haskovic who is playing the colorful and passionate Gojco, their friend of blood.
The conflict in Bosnia, and the wars in the former Yugoslavia already generated many films, some of them good, including the ones produced by artists from the area themselves. 'Venuto al mondo' is a co-production, mostly made in Italy, with local participation. It will probably stay as one of the solid and sensible films made about those mad years. This is a film which will also stay with all these who will have the chance to see it.
This movie was panned by the critics. It a has 19% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. The audience gives it 73%. The audience is right. This movie is a treasure. Most of the negative reviews come from Americans who, I am sure, never watched this lovely film. The Americans make a habit of lying. Their film critics are no exception. There is no way that all of those negative reviews come from people who have seen this movie. I often marvel at the factual mistakes in mainstream press reviews and have long suspected that they will review a movie they have not seen. This movie proves my thesis. Audience reviews are a much better barometer of whether a movie is worth one's time or not. This is definitely worth your time. Easily among the best of 2012. It never puts a foot wrong and builds to a most unexpected but satisfying conclusion. Perhaps love does not conquer all but it is the most resilient of our gifts as this film so ably shows.
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.
¨Twice Born¨ is a thought-provoking war drama crammed with thrills ,
intrigue , family relationship and an agreeable love story . It tells
the story of Gemma (Penelope Cruz), an Italian single mother who
decides to bring her teenage son, Pietro (Pietro Castellitto) to
battle-scarred city of Sarajevo, where his father died in the Bosnian
conflict years ago . There they see the country where he was born and
where she fell in love with Pietro's now-deceased father, photographer
Diego (Emile Hirsch). It's a tense arrival, one that foreshadows the
struggles Gemma must face as she relives her past. Scenes of the
present are intercut with those of the past, when Gemma was a student
working on her doctorate in Sarajevo in the early 1980s. The two had
formed a romance in a very different Sarajevo during the 1984 Winter
Olympics . But when the Balkan war loomed , Gemma was forced to flee to
Italy with her infant son. As she tours the city 18 years later, she
uncovers a terrifying hidden truth . There , she was introduced to the
passionate American photographer Diego by her zany Bosnian poet guide,
Gojko (Adnan Hasković) kickstarting a steamy romance that leads to
marriage but, unfortunately for them, a lack of children leads to
unexpected consequences .
This interesting film deals with a tragedy of human emotions pushed over the edge . This wartime movie picture is an enjoyable tale with an interesting characterizing about a few characters , tragic drama , emotion and including some war scenes . Its style is pretty much sour , dry and realistic as well in the atmosphere as in the fresh dialog . Sergio Castellito returns to top form, with an intelligent and engaging script which uses dramatic situations to give us a good movie in a high sense and intimate sensitivity and that kept me entertained for the almost two hours and some of duration . This stirring as well as intimate story is a passionate retelling and a touching love story between Cruz and Hirsch interrupted by a fateful war . Storyline relies heavily on the continued relationship among them ; in spite of , the movie results to be better than average , being surprisingly good and compellingly realized . Rightly enjoyable and fun-filled , milestone drama which neatly combines tragedy , drama , entertaining situations and unexpected finale . Flawless story with a quartet of sensational protagonists , all of them give fine performances , as Penélope Cruz , Emile Hirsch , Adnan Haskovic and Saadet Aksoy . Unforgettable Penelope Cruz , she parades sexily at her best and more relaxed and enticing than ever . The hit of the show is undoubtedly for the fetching Penelope who gives one of the best screen acting , she pays a nervous and aged woman who flies to Sarajevo with her son , marking the first time they've been back since escaping the Bosnian War 16 years earlier. I liked everyone in the excellent cast, and the male and female actors , especially Penelope Cruz , were all very attractive . I have seen many, Hollywood-dramas that couldn't compare with this one, but many give them a higher rating because they are Hollywood-made . Here Penelope Cruz adds the Italian language to a resume full of English and Spanish speaking roles. ¨Twice born¨ seems to be be a family film , because it has been written , produced and directed by parents ; as Penélope Cruz acted and produced , her brother Eduardo Cruz composed an adequate soundtrack ; Sergio Castellitto played , wrote , produced and directed , his wife Margaret Mazzantini wrote the novel and their son Prieto played an important role .
This attractive Italian/Spanish film was well produced by Guido De Laurentiis, Piero Amati ,Jaime Ortiz De Artiñano , Roberto Sessa , Fernando Bovaira , which got critics and moviegoers polarized in their opinions. The R-rated drama film was screened in a handful of theaters in the U.S. but its biggest audience is on the DVD. The motion picture was well directed by Sergio Castellitto . He is an actor and writer, known for The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008), The star maker (1995) and Don't move (2004) in which he also directed to Penélope Cruz . Sergio has been married to Margaret Mazzantini since 1987 , a known writer who wrote this film and Don't move , they have four children , on of them results to be Pietro Castellitto . Rating : Above average , worthwhile watching .
Amazing acting from Penelope Cruz, she shows the true feelings of being
a mother in an ironic sense. A woman's desire for motherhood has been
well illustrated! Her facial expressions throughout the movie are
emotionally penetrating and make you think about this movie for quite a
The movie has a perfect story-line. The shifting between present and past is done is professional way so you would connect the events without loosing the line.
Watching this movie is like a heart-rending ride, but cinematography and acting are rewarding. The background music faultlessly matches all episodes of the movie. In one word, it's a well-directed and well-acted Italian movie.
When watching this film it reminded me a lot of "Incendies". Not only
because of the story but also because it was almost as tough to watch.
It almost felt too realistic, never giving you a chance to get
comfortable. That's what makes this movie exceptional. The acting is
top notch, really impressed by the performance of Penelope Cruz and
Hirsch. The Make-up makes the age-differences look totally authentic.
The Soundtrack also gives the film an extra dramatic feel. Even though
it is over 2 hours in length you never feel bored, always keeps you
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