Facing Window

Facing Window

***1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

How far is fetched when it comes to a storyline? This takes some beating and for a while writer/director Ferzan Ozpetek tests the patience of his audience. Perserverence pays off, however, because beneath the skin warm blood flows.

Giovanna (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) and Filippo (Filippo Nigro) are married with children. They quarrel constantly and, of the two, she is the tough one and he the victim. She hates her job in the chicken factory and sees no future. He is good with the kids, but too unambitious to make anything of his life. Despite looking like a shaven headed street hustler, he is no match to her, because she blames him for her unhappiness.

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One day, he helps an old man (Massimo Girotti) who has lost his memory and brings him home. She freaks and tells him to report the incident to the police. This doesn't happen and the old man, who calls himself Simone, becomes part of the family and his memory flutters back infinitely slowly. Is he the young baker who killed his boss in a brawl in 1943 at the beginning of the film? If so, why? Did Simone survive the Holocaust? Who is Lorenzo (Raoul Bova) and why does he watch Giovanna from his apartment across the way? Is forbidden love the real story?

The film answers every why, fitting the pieces of the puzzle together with infinite subtlety, so that by the end the heart is engaged and feelings twist in the wind. As in life, nothing is simple, even friendship and especially love.

There are several strands snaking through the tendrils of this tale. Which way the window faces is hardly one them, although infatuation, built on voyeuristic fantasy, has little chance of survival.

Perhaps too intelligent for its own good, Facing Window unravels without the aid of sentimentality. Mezzogiorno's performance gathers in strength, ultimately squeezing every drop of emotion from a role that begins with rage and ends in hope.

Reviewed on: 08 Oct 2004
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Intricate puzzle involving memory, forbidden love and voyeuristic infatuation.
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Director: Ferzan Ozpetek

Writer: Ferzan Ozpetek, Gianni Romoli

Starring: Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Massimo Girotti, Raoul Bova, Filippo Nigro, Sierra Yilmaz, Maria Grazia Bon, Massimo Poggio, Ivan Bacchi

Year: 2003

Runtime: 106 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Italy/UK/Turkey/Portugal

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