Maya Sansa

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VillaAmalia Review


Good
Insinuating and enigmatic filmmaking adds to the central mystery of this intensely personal odyssey, which gets under the skin even as it begins to feel a bit meandering and ill-defined. But of course, Huppert is magnificent.

Ann (Huppert) is rattled one evening by two events: she sees her partner Thomas (Beauvois) kissing another woman and she runs into Georges (Anglade), an old friend who knew her before she became a famous pianist. Suddenly she decides to leave her current life behind, dumping Thomas, selling her flat and hitting the road. And Georges is the only person she tells; to everyone else she has simply vanished. She ends up on an isolated Italian island, where her life is redefined by her new friends (Bindi and Sansa). But can she fully escape her past?

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The Best of Youth Review


Excellent
There's a moment early on in the bright, roomy Italian melodrama Best of Youth that doesn't auger well for the rest of the film. In Turin, circa 1974, a medical student and his girlfriend have gotten trapped in a street protest and are about to be run down by the overzealous riot police, one of whom is his brother. While the two grew up very close, the last few years had seen them grow apart and this dramatic moment seems sure to set us up for a house-divided, North and South-type story that will use the brothers as symbolic of Italy's fractious extremes. Fortunately, that never happens, and as the film meanders along, it consistently shucks off any expectations of this kind, delivering instead a sumptuous story of a family, a time in history, and an entire country.

The first (and last) thing that people know of Best of Youth is that it is six hours long. This is indeed true. But rather than a deterrent, this should actually serve as an enticement - it's a film that has room to relax. Best of Youth starts with two brothers who come of age in Rome during the golden year of 1966. There's scooters on which they can zip about the graciously aging city, American R&B tootling out of radios everywhere, friendly prostitutes to relieve them of burdensome virginity, and, in short, their whole lives in front of them.

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Good Morning, Night Review


Grim
Italian political history gets revisited in Good Morning, Night (aka Buongiorno, notte), the latest work from pedantic ideologue Marco Bellocchio. If you're already moving on to the next review at filmcritic.com ("God, not another history lesson! Let's see what they wrote about Mystic River or Kill Bill instead..."), I can't blame you. Bellocchio doesn't really make movies so much as build tracts, and his philosophy student background at the Catholic University of Milan is the driving force behind his films. They're philosophic inasmuch as they have characters sitting around discussing big ideas, which is the kiss of death for many films.

Inherently dramatic, Good Morning, Night has a strong premise addressing issues of responsibility and the dynamics of power. The Red Brigade terrorist group kidnaps Italian President Aldo Moro (Roberto Herlitzka) and holds him in their cell -- a small house in a suburban neighborhood. The youngest member of the group, and the only female, is Anna (Maya Sansa), who takes on the role of housewife for her three revolutionary companions and has a soul-stifling job at the local library. As days pass and the terrorists negotiate with the authorities, Anna questions her role in the political machinations. Though she never really grows more self-aware, she feels a sense of guilt over the possibility of killing Moro.

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