Saturday, 12 January 2013

"Twice Born" by Sergio Castellitto

“The weird love stories are always the best”

A ship travels over the sea. A woman called Gemma seen from behind. Someone rings the phone. It is Gojko calling from Sarajevo. He asks Gemma to come back to that country. She accepts to travel to Bosnia’s capital city with her son Pietro.

So begins the film “Twice Born”, originally named “Venuto al mondo”,that was directed and co-written by the Italian Sergio Castellitto. The plot is based on the book “The most wonderful word”, written by Margaret Mazzantini (Sergio Castellitto’s spouse).

This long film tells the story of Gemma, an Italian woman who decides to travel to Sarajevo with her son. She is trying to get information for her thesis, and Gojko will be helping her to integrate. This way, she will meet several artists, but one of them, Diego (a photographer), will change her destiny. He is a joyous man, who is always smiling and making everyone smile. He has a bohemian lifestyle and his main aim in life is having a child. Diego and Gemma fall in love, but their love will have many obstacles. “I wanna spend the rest of my life with you.”

The entire story has the Bosnian War as a background, an event that happened actually from 1 March 1992 (when Pietro is born) to 14 December 1995. This tragic conflict will determine the lives of the characters.

The main topics of the story are love and war, which are actually opposed. Also, there is a thinking about family’s meaning.

There are two periods in the tale. It begins when Gemma already has her son, but the spectator is able to watch the past; the moment when Gemma, the main character, meets Diego, and the posterior time when they try to have a baby. This temporal fact is probably the most interesting thing about the screenplay for being unusual.

Another notable aspect of the script is its circular structure. That is to say that the story starts where it begins, but for the spectator there is a big difference because along the film, the members of the audience will receive information about what really happened to their characters.

The music used in “Venuto al mondo” could be described as heteroclite or heterogeneous. Actually, music is diegetic in the story, because characters talk about their musical tastes. Groups as U2 or Nirvana are mentioned, especially by Aska, who is a musician. In fact, a sleeve of a Nirvana's CD is shown in her bedroom.

"Nevermind" sleeve

Concerning the cast of “Twice Born”, the leading role is played by the Spanish actress Penélope Cruz. Her performance is quite noticeable, but she speaks English with a Spanish accent. Actually, it could be deliberately done to emphasize her Italian origin or it is just because her English level is low, but it seems to be for the second reason. Penelope Cruz has been nominated at Goya awards as Best Actress in a leading role, among Naomi Watts for “The Impossible”, Maribel Verdú for “Snow White” and Aida Folch for “The artist and the model”. Although her acting is fine, her rivals have done brilliant work.

Moreover, the American actor Emile Hirsch plays the part of Diego; Saadet Aksoy acts as Aska; Adnan Haskovic as Gojko and, last but not least, Pietro Castellitto, who is Sergio Castellito’s son and has also acted in other of his former films.

There is a characteristic fact about this film, and it is the range of languages they speak. Bosnian, English, Italian are spoken, but it is not a problem because they are easily understandable and probably you will have subtitles available.

According to the Spanish actress Rossy de Palma’s words the film “is a very surprising and realistic drama, and Penelope is wonderful.”

To end up, my reason for recommending you “Twice Born” is both the screenplay and the historical background.

“We are together. That’s what matters.” Twice Born

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