Monday, November 08, 2010

Giulia Doesn't Go Out at Night

This was the first of the 2010 Italian Film Festival movies I had a chance to see. It is not the most cheerful movie I've ever seen, in fact I came out feeling very sad.That's not to say its not a good movie, but it wouldn't suit someone seeking a light-hearted and funny romance. Guido is a novelist, there's a subsidiary story about his hope to win some big writing prize. The main story starts when his daughter decides she's bored with swimming lessons and, since they've been paid for, Guido takes over as pupil. So, yes, there's a fair amount of swimming.

His instructor is Giulia - she initially presents as a little stern, but she and Guido bond as he tries to do more than float. Of course, he's all "will you have coffee?" and she's all "I don't go out at night" - the reason is revealed so early in the movie that its not really a spoiler to share: she is in jail, for killing a man. The lover she left her husband and daughter to be with moved on, she killed him.

Italian prisons seem to be more enlightened than those with which I am familiar: Giulia is allowed out on day release to teach swimming and even has 45 days leave a year. Guido thinks he is doing the right thing when he tries to reunite Giulia with her daughter: it is something which has clearly oppressed Giulia for years but, well, things don't turn out so great.

There is one fun element to the movie: Guido tends to daydream, so there are whimsical little movies within the movie, stories he might write but never does. One featured a cute umbrella seller. Even these take on a darker tone: some of the characters start to inhabit Guido's real world, showing up in the swimming pool, for example, and then there's Giulia in these dream narratives.



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