At the height of his career, Alexandre decides to set off for Italy with the idea of completing of a book on Borromini. Along with his wife Alienor feels her relationship with Alexandre is ...
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At the height of his career, Alexandre decides to set off for Italy with the idea of completing of a book on Borromini. Along with his wife Alienor feels her relationship with Alexandre is gradually slipping away. Along the way they meet siblings Goffredo and Lavinia. Gofffredo is about to embark in architectural studies. A story of rediscover the joys of life and overcoming anxiety.Written by
La Sapienza (2014) is a French movie, written and directed by Eugène Green. (Note that Green, despite the accent over the e in his name, is American, not French.)
This movie doesn't fit into a pattern. It's about alienation between husband and wife, it's about Italian Baroque architecture, and it's about love. The problem in reviewing the film is that all these matters are presented to us in very unusual ways.
The person who introduced the movie pointed out the influence of Bresson on Green's work. I thought that it was closer to Antonioni or possibly Ozu. Actually, it's not that close to any other director whose films I've seen.
Fabrizio Rongione portrays Alexandre Schmidt, an architect at the height of success. However, he's burned out, especially because his plan for a model housing unit in a rural village is met with a counter proposal to cement everything over and just put in windowsills with flower pots on them.
His wife, Aliénor (Christelle Prot Landman) says she's a "psychologist, psychoanalyst, and sociologist." She appears to work for a nonprofit organization (I think) that cares about community well being. (There's a short scene where she's describing the wretched circumstances in an--I believe--Algerian neighborhood, and she's met with rude humor rather than understanding.)
It's had to tell whether Alexandre and Aliénor still love one another. In their scenes together, they stare at the camera, not at each other, and barely talk.
Alexandre decides to travel to Italy to revive his interest in the Baroque Italian architect Borromini. Aliénor travels with him. In Italy, they meet a brother and sister: Goffredo (Ludovico Succio) and Lavinia (Arianna Nastro). Goffredo wants to become an architect. Lavinia suffers from a "neuologic disorder." (Never specified, and not clear from the plot.)
In a surprise turn of events, Aliénor stays behind to be with Lavinia, and Alexandre travels with Goffredo to Rome to observe Borromini's work.
I can't reveal more of the plot. What I can do is say that this is a quiet film, but never boring. There's no violence, no sex, and no bizarre occurrences. One scene appears to flow into the next almost seamlessly. It's not a good movie if you want action, but it will work if you relax and watch the plot of the film unfold.
I was particularly impressed by the acting of Christelle Prot Landman, an actress whose work I've never seen before. She has a quiet presence that fits the part perfectly. She reminds me of Fannie Ardant in the movie Colonel Chabert. When asked what she is like, the answer is "Superb."
We saw this movie at the wonderful Dryden Theatre in Rochester's George Eastman Museum. It won't work as well on a small screen--because of the architecture--but it's worth seeing in any way you can. It's different, and it's fascinating.
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