have you ever heard of that little film called malena? malena is the story of a young boy’s coming of age, who speaks of her as the girl he’s always loved and will never forget despite the fact that theyve never really known each other. it starred super gorgeous model monica belluci. you cant forget the face. she’s so beautiful and it was painful to see her go through so much in the film. indeed it’s no small wonder the townsfolk stop to look every time she passes by. literally she stops traffic. the film opens to establish the period of the film where provincial italy remains idyllic as the father purchases a bike for his son, while outside in the city towncenter, speakers blare out addresses from military leaders regarding news about the war. the bike signals the boy’s promotion towards being regarded as a youth rather than a kid– although we would later find out that his short pants keep him from really leaving “boy” status. nevertheless, he is soon accepted to join the older kids playing adults and wolfing the beautiful lady living by the sea. here we first gape and be mesmerized at malena as she walks the whole dusty length of the seawall road to town in her pretty white dress. as if by magic we are enthralled, just like the boy, on the vision of ultimate beauty that just passed by our eyes. throughout the film, malena just takes our breath away even without meeting our glances or even engaging us in conversation. the rest of the movie surfs through malena’s downward spiral from goddess to pond scum (to borrow from my best friend’s wedding) and we stand witness, like the boy, admiring human perseverance and spirit, to empathize, and most importantly, to love.

the film was done by director Giuseppe Tornatore of cinema paradiso and it evoked a lot of the spirit and power of italian cinema at its best. my classmates have teased me about my preference to sad movies (sad, not melodramatic) with bittersweet endings like american beauty, children of the marshlands, la vita e bella, and many, many others like it. i just think that pain has been perfectly captured in these films and nothing can really beat the emotional rollercoaster ride an audience takes to enjoy these films. sometimes it’s so sad it gets me right there between my lungs and i cant help but be human.

the film also brings to mind another coming-of-age movie made in the 70s, summer of 42. other, the theme to the film, i dont remember much about it except that they actually got to consummate their quasi love affair. we could draw a lot of similarities between films– husband goes to war, he dies, boy spies on girl, boy falls in love with girl, etc. anyway, thank God malena is presently available in video rental stores and is also sold at PhP 150.


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