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Le scaphandre et le papillon (2007)
A moving story told in an intriguing fashion
Saw this last night in Brussels (it's been on release for a while now). I was worried that it would be arty and depressing, but I was pleasantly surprised by how absorbing and moving it was. The opening scenes are striking, and communicate well the main character's feelings of claustrophobia and helplessness in the immediate aftermath of his accident, but as he attempts to rebuild his life and learn how to communicate, the film (and the visual style) opens up, even making room for some welcome flashes of humour. Performances are excellent, but the real stars here are the writer(s) and director, for taking us so convincingly into the character's world.
L'ultimo bacio (2001)
interesting, if occasionally overwrought
An absorbing drama. The themes of commitment and responsibility in relationships are well explored, but don't hit you over the head. Personally I found Stefano Accorsi's main character to be a little bland and uninteresting, but his friends and relatives, and their own crises, provide enough interest. Some of the argument scenes are a little overplayed, and simply end up being two characters screeching at each other for minutes on end. This isn't simply due to that fact that they are "passionate" Italians - my Italian wife found it to be a bit much too. However, there are some nice ironic comments in the voice-over and other moments of humour to lighten the tone.