7.0/10
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47 user 69 critic

Respiro (2002)

PG-13 | | Drama | 22 May 2002 (Italy)
Trailer
1:47 | Trailer

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On an impoverished Italian island, a free-spirited woman is accused of madness by townspeople fed up with her antics.

Director:

Emanuele Crialese
21 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Valeria Golino ... Grazia
Vincenzo Amato ... Pietro
Francesco Casisa ... Pasquale
Veronica D'Agostino ... Marinella
Filippo Pucillo ... Filippo
Muzzi Loffredo Muzzi Loffredo ... Nonna
Elio Germano ... Pier Luigi
Avy Marciano Avy Marciano ... Velista Francese
Giuseppe del Volgo Giuseppe del Volgo ... Zio Pino
Matteo Solina Matteo Solina ... Zio Antonio
Vincenzo Barreca Vincenzo Barreca ... Cefalo
Pasquale De Rubels Pasquale De Rubels ... Bufalo
Francesco Edoardo Anglieri Francesco Edoardo Anglieri
Andrea Barreca Andrea Barreca
Donatella Battiali Donatella Battiali
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Storyline

Grazia is a mother of three who spends suffocating days packing fish while her husband Pietro is at sea. Her oft-erratic behavior leads Pietro into thinking she may need medical attention, and he prepares to send her off to a psychiatric institute in Milan. Their son Pasquale, the one person who understand his mother the most, vows to do whatever it takes to foil his father's plan. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for nudity and thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [France]

Country:

Italy | France

Language:

Italian | Sicilian

Release Date:

22 May 2002 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Respiro See more »

Filming Locations:

Italy See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

€24,893 (Italy), 26 May 2002, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$94,452, 26 May 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,072,534, 16 November 2003

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,216,879, 7 November 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in Che saccio (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

La bambola
(uncredited)
Written by Ruggero Cini, Franco Migliacci (as Francesco Migliacci), and Bruno Zambrini
Performed by Valeria Golino and Filippo Pucillo
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Magic realism and natural beauty
9 November 2003 | by howard.schumannSee all my reviews

Emanuele Crialese's Respiro is alive, sensual, and transcendent. Set in Lampedusa, an island southwest of Sicily, it is a film about mothers and sons, accepting differences, and the power of love to bring renewal and reconciliation. Gorgeously filmed by cinematographer Fabio Zamarion, Respiro captivates us with its bright Mediterranean sunlight and the expressive faces of the people, tanned and strikingly beautiful. Winner of the 2002 Cannes Critics Week award, the film is based on a local legend about a mother whose behavior was found to be offensive by the community and whose subsequent disappearance was the catalyst that brought the people together. Crialese's film has the feeling of myth and legend but also the overtones of the great Italian realist dramas of the 50s and 60s.

As gangs of unsupervised pre-teens carry out intermittent warfare among the desolate beaches and rocky landscapes, everyday life centers on fishing. While the husbands do the fishing, wives work in the fish processing plant and the boys help out their fathers and catch fish to use as trade for a chance to win an electric train set. Grazia (Valeria Golino) is the wife of macho but loving fisherman, Pietro (Vincenzo Amato) and mother of three: 13-year old Pasquale (Francesco Casisa), younger brother Filippo (Filippo Pucillo), and older sister Marinella (Veronica D'Agostino). Golina is radiant as the headstrong young mother and Casisa's performance as Pasquale completely captures the budding sexual awareness of a pre-teen. The film reflects the warmth of the Italian family and the closeness that Italian sons feel for their mothers but also depicts the old-fashioned attitudes of the tight-knit community, especially the subjugation of women.

In a revealing scene, Pasquale's brother, the adorable but mouthy Filippo and his friends follow his older sister Marinella to a private meeting place where she is seeking privacy with a shy young policeman, Pier Luigi (Elio Germano). Affronted by their seeming public display of affection, Filippo, less than half their size, confronts the two lovers and threatens to beat them up unless his sister goes home immediately. Unfortunately, everything is not right on the island. Grazia's behavior is increasingly defined by erratic mood swings. She flings dishes across the room, swims naked with her sons, and releases a herd of dogs from captivity, but it is not clear if she is ill or just rebellious and the film walks a tightrope between suggesting madness or the eccentricities of a free spirit.

It is soon apparent that the community has their own thoughts about her actions and she is seen as a threat to the social order. When Grazia's antics threaten to reach the breaking point, Pietro's family decides to send her to Milan to receive psychiatric treatment. Pasquale, however, always understanding and protective of his mother, hides her in one of the many caves along the rocky shore, bringing her food and reporting news of the search for her whereabouts. The ending can be interpreted in many different ways but I was touched by its haunting beauty. Is it to be taken literally, a dream of Pasquale's perhaps, or a fairy tale constructed from legend? I'm not sure but in any case, Respiro's combination of magic realism, natural beauty, and humanistic message will have you pricing the tickets for a trip to Lampedusa.


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