Sunday, October 21, 2012

Luce dei miei occhi

Great actors putting in beautiful performances; some suitable, unobtrusive music; beautiful cinematography ... and yet, the ultimate strength of Luce dei miei occhi (int’l title: Light of My Eyes) is its fleshing out of every major character: Antonio, Maria and Lisa. I have seen even the best of films getting away with loose character development: that seems to be the job of books; but here is a film that slowly but surely comes home, that is not concerned with anything flashy but the eyes of Antonio, full of questions and reprising the role of “il viaggiatore” (the traveller). And yet the film leaves also a thousand questions in the air: through shots of people’s faces, crumbs of their conversations, flakes of people’s lives here and there, all as much real as the dreams in which Antonio moves: those stories are still to be made or getting somewhere made. That this world of immense possibilities exists, where travellers come, care for and leave, is established right at the beginning: when Antonio becomes a part and parcel of a family’s daily life. That even if a prime number, he can learn the ways of those on this planet is established, when he gets away blackmailing a man whose job this was so far to do (Donati as a lower-key version of Zhivago’s Komarovsky, and played by Silvio Orlando with as much guts as was done by Steiger).

The film once again belongs to Luigi Lo Cascio as well; seldom is that gentleness seen on an actor’s face repeatedly, in film after film (I have in fact never seen that before on the face of any male cinema actor after recognition). Because of Lo Cascio and the film’s more than outlined characters, the film is not merely some domestic or sentimental drama, some obsession with stories of here and now, as is common in a lot of Hollywood as well as certain sections of European cinema, too: rather, the film rises above them, partly on account of the science fiction analogy too running throughout the film, and raises several questions about our existence, our reactions, our emotions and sentiments, and how much it means for us to be blindly in love, to blindly believe, to want to do that. The loser is not the one indulging in unrequited love: love is its own reward. The loser is the one who could not accept to be loved, even if this everything be seen in victor and loser terms. Though, there is never any victor, never any loser, except in the eyes of a world which measures every action in terms of “getting her to bed”; everyone is grappling with own dreams and fears, with own insecurities and reasonings. Can you go beyond yours to understand those of others?

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