Gaetano Aronica

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Baaria Review


OK
A robust epic spanning some 70 years of Sicilian history, this is a sprawling production that's certainly impressive to watch. Although filmmaker Tornatore throws way too much at the screen, leaving us exhausted in the process.

In the 1920s, Peppino (Scianna) is born in the spirited town of Baaria (aka Bagheria) in northern Sicily. As he grows up, he falls for local girl Mannina (Made), whose family doesn't approve, and gets increasingly involved in politics, working with the communist party to protect people's rights from both the oppressive government and the mafia. Over the years, they have five children, including the precocious and imaginative Pietro (Scortino), who becomes obsessed with cinema.

Continue reading: Baaria Review

Malèna Review


Unbearable
Even the great can stumble. Giuseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso) adapted his new film Malèna from a story by Luciano Vincenzoni (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly), yet the whole thing comes off like a loud and humorless ripoff of Federico Fellini's Amarcord.

The story is seen through the eyes of a 13-year-old boy named Renato (Giuseppe Sulfaro ), who is growing up in a small Sicilian village during the World War II. For a good three-fourths of the film, the local beauty Malèna (Monica Bellucci), the object of desire for the entire village, monotonously parades through streets and piazzas with cow-like indifference, followed by Renato and his gang of friends.

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