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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Marco Bellocchio's new film is a circumspect anatomy of mercy killing.
In the four cases he dramatizes there are different balances between
the public and the private interest. One inference is that on this
issue there are such pronounced differences that humanitarianism cannot
be served by a single template of admissible conduct.
The film begins with the most public case, based on the 2009 controversy in Italy when Beppe Englaro decided to take his comatose daughter Eluana off her life support system. (A similar scandal roiled the US at the time.) There were angry demonstrations for and against this intervention. Here the Italian parliament is about to debate the right-wing government's motion to prevent this euthanasia. The other cases lead from this public one to three more private ones.
The title points us to several dormant or sleeping beauties here. Most obviously, they are the four comatose women. But perhaps there is an allegorical alternative: the beautiful love that sacrifices one's own righteousness and safety to bring the beloved relief, whether in taking or in saving a life. For more see www.yacowar.blogspot.com.
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