Facing Windows Reviews
"Facing windows" is more of the same, maybe just a bit more ambitious. Telling two different stories set in the past and present, but also talking about what most melodramas talk about, the conflict between what you really want, and what you risk by trying to obtain it. So to speak, the romantic, passionate love, and the routine one, the not so attentive husband but a guy your life is based around, kids included.
Stories in Ozpetek´s movies were never that original, but were very told in their own terms. Here, I´m not so sure. Is it because the story in the past is never developed and takes too long to reveal the truth, when that is something you can see a mile away (or one hour of film or so) coming? Or just cause It doesn´t have that much to say and that is why its narrative is so morose?
The faces are still beautiful, the love story(es) are there, but It all should be more involving at the end. Apart from the nice music, I was mostly bored after half an hour. I felt I knew what was coming, and It wasn´t that interesting this time round.
Facing Windows is an interesting and often moving film from Italy. Things happen in the film and we're not sure why until later, characters evolve slowly before we really get to know them, and the movie takes its time in telling the story.
It begins at a bakery in Rome in1943, where two men are working in the night. They eye each other suspiciously before one attacks the other. A knife is drawn and one of them ends up killing the other, though its not clear whether he was strangled or stabbed. The film doesn't explain until much later the circumstances of this scene. The survivor runs out into the night and the film flashes forward to the present day, where a young married couple argues while walking down the street after leaving the grocery store. They run across an old man who says he can't remember who he is or how he got there. The husband doesn't want to leave him there, so above his wife's objections, they take him to their home where he spends the night. He tells one of the couple's children that his name is Simone, but he can barely remember anything else. He does often seem to have flashbacks though as he sees people and places from his past wherever he goes. And the story goes on from there. I can't explain much more than that because it is much better to just watch it and let the story unfold.
I will say that the story involves lots of very tasty-looking cakes, the woman's realization that the old man is a concentration camp survivor, a forbidden love affair the man had in his younger days, the often strained relationship between the wife and her husband, a handsome and mysterious man (who I thought resembled an Italian version of Richard Roeper) living in the apartment next door who the wife watches at night from her kitchen window, and the wife's nosey friend who encourages her to have an affair with the man. It's well acted, well photographed, has a stirring musical score, and I never quite knew where it was going. An interesting film, but not wholly satisfying and I found the ending a bit lacking.