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The Perils of Being Too Beautiful
on 21 March 2006
Set in a Sicilian village during WW2, "Malena" is a thoroughly enjoyable movie which showcases the many talents and charms of Monica Bellucci, who plays the glamourous wife of an Italian soldier. Lusted after by men and envied by women, Malena has to adjust to life on her own after her husband is called to fight in North Africa. Her solitary status becomes the subject of rampant speculation in the village and her haughty, reserved demeanour helps to turn her into a hate figure for malicious gossips who try to "bring her down". A pubescent boy , Renato (Giuseppe Sulfaro) ,falls under her spell and he starts to follow and spy on her ,observing mournfully her fall from grace . The main themes of "Malena" are those of envy, injustice and redemption. The acting and cinematography are superb and there is a rich vein of humour running through the film, mostly provided by Renato's relationship with his right hand and with his temperamental father after an attempted exorcism. However there are some harrowing scenes as well which are brilliantly performed by Bellucci. Like an Italian "Ryan's Daughter" with echoes of "Wish You Were Here", "Malena" is an engaging and entertaining contribution to world cinema.