On Cruz control
What's it all about, Sergio? "Don't Move" is a film of constantly changing focus, but it offers is a glorious new direction for Penelope Cruz.
By LESLIE (HOBAN) BLAKE
The recent Serge Castellitto retrospective at the Lincoln Center Film Society focused on the works of one of Italy's current shining lights. This time, the actor/director, a physical cross between Yves Montand and Jeff Goldblum, has adapted a confessional novel about a doctor's midlife crisis (written by his wife and dedicated to him) into a full-blown and quite overheated melodrama.
There's something innately creepy about a film that starts out telling the story of a life-threatening accident involving a doctor's teenage daughter and ends up telling the story of the doctor's rape of a hotel maid, years before his daughter was born.
|Original title: Non Ti Muovere.|
Directed by: Sergio Castellitto.
Written by: Sergio Castellitto, Margaret Mazzantini.
Cast: PenŽlope Cruz, Sergio Castellitto, Claudia Gerini, Lina Bernardi.
Cinematography: Gianfilippo Corticelli.
Edited by: Patrizio Marone.
In Italian with English subtitles.
Related links: Official site
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New York Film Festival 2005|
One can only assume that the doctor feels the accident is some kind of karmic retribution for his secret misbehavior long ago. But the split focus causes less interest in the story than in the actress playing Italia, the maid. The stunningly beautiful Penelope Cruz seems to have taken the earthy Anna Magnani for her role model.
With her dirty hair, gap teeth, bowed legs and hooker outfits, she resembles Amy Sedaris in "Strangers with Candy," and she'd be almost laughably overboard if Cruz didn't so thoroughly immerse herself in the character. She is to quote Shaw's "Pygmalion," "so deliciously low, so horribly dirty."
But Catellitto's Timoteo is no Henry Higgins. His interest in Italia is purely (or impurely) carnal. A successful doctor with a glamorous wife, he first rapes and then falls in love with the lowborn Italia. A return to the earth? A cry for help. A release from the tensions of big city life? No attempt is made to explain, and the action is presented so brutally that no explanation would suffice.|
For her part, Italia's a cipher. With no will of her own, she succumbs willingly (or so it seems in his memory) to whatever degradations he comes up with. She is already so low that Timoteo cannot debase her, though, God knows, he tries. Somewhere in the process he falls in love with her, which in almost operatic terms (it is an Italian film) seals her fate.
And yet, Cruz so embodies this pitiable, abject creature that we can't take our eyes away from her, even when we want to. The creepy part comes from watching Timoteo at his comatose daughter's bedside, remembering not only how he mistreated Italia but how much he needed to and how much he finally came to care for her.
She seems to be his equivalent of girls who cut themselves for release from the stresses they can't cope with. The entire film is discomforting, rather like the moral equivalent of watching a mongoose kill a cobra. While Catellitto's performance makes no excuses for Timoteo, a far better example of his myriad dramatic and comedic skills can be found in the French film "Ne Quittez Pas" ("Local Call").
|SEPTEMBER 26, 2005|
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