The Wedding Dress


Reviewed by: David Stanners

Stella (Maya Sansa) is a beautiful young Italian girl, engaged to be married. Excited about the prospect, she drops into the wedding shop to try on her dress, taking some last minute advice from its designer, Franco (Andrea Di Stefano). Later that day, she heads into the village and is brutally gang raped by local thugs. With a bag over her head, she is unable to identify her assailants, one of which is Franco.

Both she and her fiancé (Salvatore Lazzaro) struggle to come to terms with what's happened. The marriage is abandoned and she leaves university, moving to another village, where she finds work at a patisserie. One day, Franco approaches her in the shop. Handsome and charming, he woos his unsuspecting victim with his dark eyes, buying every cake in sight.

As the dramatic irony builds, the pair draws closer, taking drives along the coast, which begins to resemble a glossy European car advert. The stench of Franco's lies and deceit is sickly and yet almost too good to be true. The tension could have been heightened even more if the ending hadn't been so abrupt.

First-time writer/director Fiorella Infascelli has made an excellent debut. The subject is deeply dark and the rape scene, as always, difficult to stomach. Performances are good: Maya Sansa is a promising actor with star qualities, who has demonstrated considerable diversity in her recent work, such as the lesbian road movie Benzina. Here, she plays a distraught rape victim with authenticity, never stretching beyond the credible.

The trouble with the plot is that too often Stella and Franco look like the perfect couple. Between the charm and the smooching, his ebullient outbursts appear a little contrived. The sudden ending, while building up to a crescendo, leaves you thinking, "What if?" Also, the encompassing Hollywood-style music seems out of place in what is, after all, a dark little village tale.

Casting these stylistic blips aside, Infascelli is one to watch. Keep an eye on Sansa, too.

Reviewed on: 13 Apr 2004
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A beautiful woman struggles to come to terms with her life, after being gang raped just before her wedding.
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Director: Fiorella Infascelli

Writer: Fiorella Infascelli

Starring: Maya Sansa, Salvatore Lazzaro, Andrea Di Stefano, Piera Degli Esposti, Chiari Conti

Year: 2003

Runtime: 106 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: Italy


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