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Respiro Review

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Grazia's mood shifts may alienate her neighbours, but they're as credible as the blend of embarrassment and pity that prompts husband Pietro to send her to the mainland for treatment.

★★★★★

It's been 55 years since Luchino Visconti captured the essence of a close-knit Sicilian fishing community in the neo-realist classic, 'La Terra Trema'.

If Crialese's sensitive drama is anything to go by, little has changed: the landscape remains implacably beautiful, hard work still brings scant reward, and outsiders are still viewed with suspicion. But while Crialese occasionally rose-tints life on the island of Lampedusa, his story is far from sentimental.

Grazia's (Golino) mood shifts may alienate her neighbours, but they're as credible as the blend of embarrassment and pity that prompts husband Pietro (Amato) to send her to the mainland for treatment. Similarly, teenager Pasquale's (Casisa) undying devotion to his mother, as she hides in an eyrie cave, appears genuinely touching rather than mawkish. Strikingly photographed by Fabio Zamarion, this is a minor, but moving film.

Strikingly beautiful film that is a small story, but a moving one.