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Saturday, October 23, 2010

La Ragazza Del Lago (aka The Girl By The Lake) (2007)

Winner of 10 David Di Donatello (the Italian Oscar) awards including best picture, Andrea Molaioli's marvelous little film goes beyond a mere detective story. When the nude body of a young girl is found by a lake in a small Italian mountain village, a detective's (Toni Servillo) investigation into her murder begins to peel layers off the seemingly average small town to reveal darker secrets that cause him to look at his own messy life with a more honest eye. Like many good films, the film works on two levels. As a detective story, it's taut and engrossing and there's a multitude of suspect and motivations. As a portrait of human relationships, most specifically between parents and children but not entirely limited to that, it explores our guilt at feeling things we have no control over and how that guilt can lead to something as heinous as murder. The film is well acted but inexplicably Servillo, who gives the film's most routine performance, won the best actor award at the Donatellos. He serves as a good reacting board to the other more interesting characters and performances. With Valeria Golino, Denis Fasolo, Nello Mascia, Fabrizio Gifuni, Heidi Caldart and Giulia Michelini. Highly recommended.

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