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A story of the painful passage into adulthood from director Giuseppe Tornatore ('Cinema Paradiso'). The year is 1940, and in the sleepy Sicilian town of Castelucto teenager Renato (Giuseppe Sulfaro) has developed a crush on the the beautiful and mysterious Malena (Monica Bellucci). Malena's husband Nino, who has been away fighting in the war, has now been reported dead, and the women of the town have taken to spreading malicious gossip about this woman who never fails to turn their husbands' heads. But as the gossip spreads, and the town fills with half-truths and false rumours, there is only one person who knows the truth, and that is young Renato.
When 12-year-old Renato, riding through his small Italian town on his new bicycle, sees the voluptuous Malèna, little does he know he's beginning an infatuation that will carry him through the tumultuous days of World War II. Malèna begins as an enraptured depiction of Renato's adolescent mind--chronicling the way he stares, hypnotised, at Malèna's garters pressing through the material of her tight skirt, or his frustrated rebellion against the indignity of wearing short pants--but soon transforms into a portrait of small-town prejudice. Malèna's looks spark lust and envy in the townspeople; when her husband dies in combat, the gossip only intensifies, to the point where Malèna is dragged into court to defend herself against accusations of adultery. When the women of the town refuse to sell her edible food at the market, Malèna has little choice but to become what she's been unjustly accused of being. At the end, a twist of fate turns this tale of longing and jealousy into a heartbreaking love story. Monica Bellucci exudes the can't-help-it eroticism that makes Malèna such a lightning rod for everyone's desires with a beauty reminiscent of Isabelle Adjani. The movie seems to wander at times, but the ending has a powerful emotional impact. From the director of Cinema Paradiso.--Bret Fetzer, Amazon.com --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
It's a well made movie by director Giuseppe Tornatore, and he succeeds in presenting a 'coming of age' story about sexual passions. The boy, Renato, experiences a variety of adventures - most of which are, in some way, aimed at getting the attractive yet mysterious Malena to notice him. Frustrated by his failures, Renato is driven to frequent masturbation (to the distress of his family). Meanwhile, Malena is greatly suffering - as her husband, a soldier in the Italian army, is thought to be dead. Finding it difficult to pay the bills, she is forced into prostitution - which becomes a major talking point of the town.
This film is in Italian (with English subtitles). The Blu-ray offers superb picture quality. I enjoyed this movie, and recommend it to viewers who like this sort of story concerning the sexual frustrations associated with passage into adulthood.
Giueseppe Sulfaro is terrific as Renato, a young boy in an Italian town during WWII who has just gotten a new bicycle. His biggest goal in life is to get a pair of long pants so he can dress like a man. But once he sees the lovely Malena, his life changes forever. His adolescent fantasies about the most beautiful girl in the town are hysterical. He puts himself into the American films he has seen in these moments. From "Me Tarzan, You Malena" to his stagecoach western fantasy (obviously he's John Wayne) "My, you have the biggest guns in the west, Renato!" we can't stop laughing. His raging hormones are treated in a funny and yet tasteful manner.
His adolescent longing for her turns to something more as this film slowly shows Renato how this small Italian town feels about the lovely Malena. Men gawk and want to have her for themselves and the women hate her because of her dark beauty and make up gossip to cheapen her. But Renato has been spying on her through a peephole and knows the truth. She is pure. She dances alone in her house with her husband's picture, faithful and waiting for his return from war.
Renato loves the beautiful Malena and defends her virtue by playing nasty tricks on the ones who talk about her.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The movie was brilliant by itself but, despite the fact that they claim it has an English subtitle, it did not.Published 4 months ago by Atoosa Hosseini Nejad
I don't understand what it's supposed to be? A comedy? A realistic portrayal of an historic period? Satire? Political commentary? It's a real mess of genres. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Cls14
I didn't like the treatment of the story, the tone, or the tempo of this film. The first two thirds of the film really annoyed me. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Zelazek
“Malena” is an Italian film that premiered in the year 2000. It was released on DVD in 2011. Here is some basic information about it:
** Written and directed by Giuseppe... Read more