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:: La Finestra Di Fronte (Facing Window)

Much expectation greeted my viewing of this film. It had “cleaned up” at Italy’s David di Donatello film awards in 2003, in particular for Best Film, Best Actress, Best Actor, and Best Music. Yes, it met my expectations as an elegant thriller – albeit told in a simple manner. The film is directed by Ferzan Ozpetek, a Turkish-Italian and likely to become a well-respected, talented filmmaker in the years ahead.

The story centres on Giovanna (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) who enjoys a comfortable life with her family although she has a dead-end job. She has a new neighbour, Lorenzo (Raoul Bova), whose apartment overlooks hers. He is a rather handsome distraction for her. On a particular day, they happen to stumble across a confused old man (Davide) and take him to their place. He can’t remember much about his current life. Upon this meeting, Giovanna starts to reflect on her own life and tells the old man of her desires for something a bit better in life. Professionally, she wants a better job. Davide was once a top cook and he inspires Giovanna to new ideas. Her life becomes confused when she engages into a brief relationship with Lorenzo before realising the love for her husband and family. She leaves her job and tries a job in a pastry shop.

These situations demonstrate her re-awakening. The director shows the subtlety of sentiment in a lasting manner. The vivid characters and engrossing music are worthy points and the story is told confidently. There is emotional resonance in the imagery. Ozpetek is able to build serious levels of suspense and drama and isn’t afraid to tamper with the central structure. He climaxes the key moments when we least expect. We can identify with the characters, especially Giovanna’s self-doubt and tempting options, whilst Filippo, her husband, is an equally flawed person, and interesting in his own right.

Generally, the standard of the acting is good, though not brilliant. I’ve seen Raoul Bova in better roles. However, Giovanna Mezzogiorno is becoming one of Italy’s best actresses. She was also very good in “L’Ultimo Bacio (The Last Kiss). She conveys her character’s mood swings extremely well. The story brings across the right messages – to appreciate your life and in fulfilling desires. It’s a unique portrait of facing up to one’s life.