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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Bella Addormentata (aka Dormant Beauty) (2012)

Based on an actual incident in 2009 Italy, a woman named Eluana Englaro who has been in a vegetative coma for almost 17 years is allowed to die after years of her father fighting the courts (in a very Catholic country like Italy, euthanasia is not legal) to let her die. Emotions run high on both sides as the right to life contingent and the death with dignity groups clash both on the street and in the Italian parliament. It's taken awhile for Marco Bellocchio's (FISTS IN THE POCKET) award winning 2012 film to arrive in the U.S. It's an ensemble film as Bellocchio follows several characters back and forth as the Englaro case plays out in the government, media and court of public opinion. A senator (Toni Servillo, THE GREAT BEAUTY), who must vote on the case, in favor of the right to die clashes with his pro-life daughter (Alba Rohrwacher). A famous actress (Isabelle Huppert) who has abandoned her career to watch over her own comatose daughter (Carlotta Cimador) has become a religious fanatic and watches the Englaro case carefully. A doctor (Pier Giorgio Bellocchio) keeps vigil over a suicidal drug addict (Maya Sansa, who won the Italian Oscar for supporting actress for her work here). Make no mistake about it, this is an in your face political film on a polarizing subject but Bellocchio doesn't pontificate and all sides get their chance to be heard. And when it's over, you still won't know what side Bellocchio comes down on. Perhaps its theme is as simple as when a character says, "you look at things differently when you're in love". Powerful stuff and well done.

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