Directed by: Donatella Maiorca | 105 minutes | drama, history | Actors: Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Ester Cucinotti, Ennio Fantastichini, Corrado Fortuna, Marco Foschi, Lucrezia Lante della Rovere, Gionata Maiorca, Aurora Quattrocchi, Isabella Ragonese, Valeria Solarino, Alessio Vassallo, Giselda Volodi
A forbidden love, a tyrannical father, a determined young woman… These are pretty much the ingredients of the Italian drama “Viola di mare”. The protagonist is Angela, who says she was born while her father held a knife to her 15-year-old mother’s throat. With such a start, you can hardly expect to kick a ball around with your dad in the evening after eating your pasta meal. Angela and her father can hardly get along with each other, but that doesn’t seem to bother the child. In fact, she prefers to add fuel to the fire by just going her own way, romping outside with the neighborhood kids and smoking cigarettes in secret. And then coming home late for dinner of course. The boyish girl has a special bond with one of the most beautiful girls on the Italian island, Sara. But when Sara has to leave the island due to the war, the two lose sight of each other.
The film makes a time jump and Sara returns – as an adult – again. It is a pity that we do not see anything from the intervening years, because in this way the viewer is supposed to believe that Angela has been waiting for Sara all these years. However, it is not made tangible. It is quite unbelievable when Angela says to Nicolino, just like that, out of the blue, “Sara will be back”. And yes, a few minutes later the reunion is a fact. There are more forced scenes like this, which is a shame. A little more subtlety would have helped the film a lot. Donatello Maiorca, who, in addition to directing, also wrote the screenplay (based on the book “Minchia di Re” by Giacomo Pilati, which in turn was inspired by a true story), makes little effort in the script to use clichés. circumvent. As a result, the characters don’t feel real, but what’s worse: their emotions don’t touch the viewer. That is also a pity, because the acting is by no means bad and the story asks to drag the viewer along. You remain fascinated, because there is enough slumber beneath the surface, but the “Viola di mare” is not really satisfying. It’s all too easy: Sara changes from a “it can’t be because we are two women, it’s a sin” attitude in seconds to a convinced lesbian. Even when Angela cuts her hair, starts wearing pants and calls herself Angelo, that is accepted by almost all villagers. And when there is a desire to have children, the first attempt is immediately hit.
Maiorca has turned “Viola di mare” into such an unrealistic fairy tale, in which most conflicts are resolved in an instant. In addition to the excellent cast, the film does excel in the beautiful photography of the Sicilian landscapes. The atmosphere is very well created: the nights are pitch dark and the sun shines so brightly during the day that you wonder why sunglasses have not yet been invented. In addition, the music, for which the well-known Italian singer Gianna Nannini drew, is very beautiful. But a lot of beautiful pictures, good actors and a nice soundtrack unfortunately do not make a very strong film. An average.