Respiro - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Respiro Reviews

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½ March 5, 2013
Sun kissed bodies and azure waters permeate the landscape of Emanuele Crialese's "Respiro", which was a big hit at Cannes. Critics have described the film's simple, character-driven storyline as "very Italianesque", but for me this film has a haunting quality that transcends other recent Italian films and places it amongst the true gems of modern European cinema.

The story revolves around Grazia (an enthralling Valeria Golino) who lives on a picturesque Italian fishing island. She's a beautiful free spirit, but is prone to rabid mood swings and highly erratic behavior. Her husband (Vicenzo Amato) is convinced she is mentally ill, and needs treatment in Milan, but her eldest son Pasquale (Francesco Casisa) is determined to protect her.

There are several other sub plots, involving Pasquale's sister and her involvement with a local cop and gangs of troublesome boys on the beach, but essentially this is a film about Grazia seen through Pasquale's eyes. Having a young boy as the protagonist is fast becoming a trait of Italian cinema ("Cinema Paradiso", "Malena"), but none the less it works well here, perfectly capturing Pasquale divided between convention and his love for his mother.

There is no denying Emanuele Crialese's talent. There are scenes of such haunting beauty throughout this film, captured with Fabio Zamarion's excellent cinematography. The sensuous beauty of Grazia and of the ocean are so alluring and captivating, they draw you into this vivid landscape. This film's ending has to be one of the most haunting scenes I've seen, brilliantly captured and teamed with John Surman's score. It will stay with you for days.
March 30, 2012
Beautiful film! Extremely well shot, brilliantly acted by a bunch of non professional actors for the most part & incredibly poetic at times, this first feature from director Crialese is nailing it's subject from start till end, keeping you entetained & dreamy for the time it last! One awesome Film!
August 6, 2011
always a non english movies are much much better that english one. It is a very sad story and it has alot of passion. Liked it
August 5, 2011
Great film, with brilliant performances which also pays homage to the classics of Italian Neo-Realism.
½ September 8, 2010
although the movie is not really good; the characters, the scenery, the daily life of a Sicilian makes it worth feels dark under the sunshine!
½ March 11, 2010
...A woman full of joie de vivre, living in a small fishermen's village, being always misunderstood, even by her man. Valeria Golino in a wonderful role and a film both poetic and realistic.
January 16, 2010
Sounds like a superhero whose power is breathing.
½ September 24, 2009
Something about this movie is very beautiful and almost painful to watch: the bare rocks and simple Sicilian life, and at the end of the bleach dry island, the ocean. There's a love story somewhere of course, and a haunting tune that a woman plays over and over on a little radio in the shade of a tree, in a car...

The girl I saw this with didn't like it as much as I did, and maybe that's influenced my memory. I imagine if I'd seen it with someone who loved it, I might say it was a little better and it might mean more to me, but that knowledge is lost with the details of the story and the melody of the song. And if I'd seen it with someone who gave a number of intelligent criticisms rather than a moment of silent reproach (or so I imagined it to be), I might rate it slightly lower. Isn't it odd the way our values shift with others, inevitably, because we construct and reconstruct meaning through them?
August 22, 2009
magnifica fotografia del mare di Lampedusa, buona performance dai giovani attori, Valeria Golino eccezionale, la storia è bella ma non approfondita abbastanza secondo me
½ July 26, 2009
While I didn't love Respiro, I do think it is a good piece of fimmaking. It's very much a character study of a woman and her family, on the Italian island of Lampedusa. If nothing else, seeing this movie taught me a little about this island which I had never heard of before. I wouldn't call it a paradise, like some other reviewers of the movie had, since it is a kind of dusty, desert environment (it is geologically African and closer to Tunisia than to Italy). The people of the island have some strange behaviors that were a little off-putting too. These things may have been part of the movie, but the homo-erotic fights that the boys would get into and the chauvanistic and controlling ways that men treated women ways made me shake my head more than feel like I'm learning about another culture. Still, there are some beautifully filmed scenes involving the main character, the mother Garzia, wonderfully played by the beautiful and captivating Valerina Golina. This woman's story is sympathetic to some degree, but I wonder whether she is really mentally ill, rather than just a free spirit in need of more ways to express herself or escape. One may never know. The whole drawn out deneumont and resolution to the story is a suspenseful as it's going on and I was wondering and anticipating how it would end. When it ended I asked "That's it?!" since it was an artsy non-verbal you-fill-in-the-blanks-scene. I have since figured out what the filmmaker was trying to say, and I think a few more scenes with the townspeople's reactions to the news of Garzia's whereabouts would have made it more clear and satisfying. I do recommend Respiro to anyone who likes modern Italian films or Valerina Golino.
June 17, 2009
average Italian drama.
May 27, 2009
Beautiful landscape, but the story didn't stick with me at all.
April 30, 2009
The Excellence of Italian Cinema.....
March 29, 2009
Probablement l'une des plus belles et l'une des plus ma√ģtris√©e oeuvre du cin√©ma italien que j'ai pu voir. Pour vite passer sur les acteurs et la musique, ils sont en tout point remarquable. Mais c'est avant tout par sa mise en sc√®ne √† la limite de la po√©sie et du lyrisme que Crialese √©pate. Sans oublier son sc√©nario incroyable. Parlant de l'√©mancipation d'une femme dans le petit village de Lampedusa, l'oeuvre √©voque avant tout l'√©volution humaine et l'ancrage de la religion dans cette soci√©t√©. Une oeuvre tout bonnement remarquable.
March 20, 2009
What? I learned never to consider getting married to a Sicilian fisherman and live on a remote island. Or have a son who bosses me and every other woman around. Madness, passion and dead cliffs surrounded by the sea. Why did I bother.
January 27, 2009
una bonita historia en unos escenarios maravillosos con una mķsica que es una pasada. se deja ver fŠcilmente haciendo un rato ameno pero no libre te tocar sentimientos
December 7, 2008
Voglio abitare in una isola di Italia!
November 19, 2008
Not much happened in this film, but it was strangely captivating. Shot on an Italian island it tells the simple tale of a woman, who reacts in an increasingly non-conventional way to the stiflingly close-knit community she lives in, to the point where she is threatened with being sent to a clinic, and she escapes. Beautifully believable performances from all, especially the young sons.
November 6, 2008
Cinematically beautiful, culturally taut, fairly compelling storyline.
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