Directed by Lamberto Sanfelice
Seventeen-year-old Jenny dreams of becoming a synchronized swimmer. Family events turn her life upside down and she is forced move to a remote area to look after her ill father and younger brother. It won't be long before Jenny starts pursuing her dreams again.
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★★★★ review by Liz Schubert on Letterboxd
Beautifully filmed at an old ski resort in Italy. Cinematography outstanding. Do not bother if you are just into plot, you will miss the point.
★★★½ review by Jonatas C D on Letterboxd
photography got me here
★★★★ review by goodguy on Letterboxd
Reminded me of Alice Rohrwacher (Corpo Celeste) and Ursula Meyer (Sister). Also of Céline Sciamma's Water Lilies, because there just aren't enough films about synchronized swimming.
Lamberto Sanfelice's (yes, not a woman, despite the examples cited above) debut feature sets up the situation swiftly: one moment Jenny trains and chats with her friends in a nice costal town, the next she and her family are relocated to a mountain ski resort. The mother died in an accident, the father fell in a depressive stupor and lost his job, the family lost their house. Now they have to live in a small cabin that belongs to an uncle, without proper heating or a shower, and Jenny is left to take care of her father and her little brother while working at the nearby hotel instead of going to school.
Jenny, as played by Sara Serraiocco, is a refreshingly selfish heroine who doesn't simply succumb to the sudden circumstances of poverty and too much responsibility. Instead she insists on holding on to her dream, even finds a way to secretly train in the hotel pool, and she challenges her uncle who is reluctant to provide more than that shabby new place to live.
But the film is not so much concerned with things that happen, be it the larger social and economic issues at play or the preceding tragic events, instead it focuses almost entirely on the emotional effects they have on the characters. And there is a delicate balance between the dreariness of the new day-to-day existence and the abstract beauty of the water acrobatics (one upside-down scene is particularly stunning).
Also, Jenny dry-counting the steps of her water routine in English with a girlish Italian accent is one of the cutest things I've heard and seen in a while.
★★★½ review by Patrick Mulcahy on Letterboxd
Teenage girl is left to care for younger brother and grief stricken father in a a sensitively acted Italian drama. Her escape is to compete in a synchronised swimming contest. Yet to do so may cost her more than she could possibly gain.
Nice visuals, including one water acrobatic scene filmed upside down, which gives it a surreal quality. You keep expecting a tragic finale involving a ski lift, but fortunately the director does not succumb to cliche.
The film doesn't always answer questions about its characters, but it has a nicely-used visual strategy involving panes of glass. When the heroine Jennifer is in her bubble, she is shown through the glass; when she thinks about the implications of her choice, she is outside it. Bravo, Lamberto Sanfelice, the co-writer-director.
Good use of music too. Jennifer puts on her headphones and we don't hear what's inside: a metaphor for the character selecting what to block out - there's plenty - and being unavailable to us. Not much humour, though.
Priests come out well in the movie. There are hints of ethnic tension just around the corner, with the caretaker Ivan having fled from his past (this might have an influence on Jennifer's decision) and Jennifer's Uncle caring for a 'gypsy' child, Dolly.
★★★½ review by Skro on Letterboxd
Primo lungometraggio del regista, ottima promessa per un cinema italiano che ha bisogno di crescere e ritrovarsi.
La vita e il sogno, distanti come mare e montagna, sembrano così vicini nel momento in cui la vita ci chiede di crescere, realizzare le distanze che ci separano dal circostante e dare una priorità per assicurarsi e assicurare un presente.
Cresce e sorprende, quindi, Jenny (interpretata da una bravissima Sara Serraiocco) insieme allo spettatore, fino ad arrivare al finale combattuto e deciso, improvviso quanto pensato, graduale e forma di un processo che prende il suo tempo, quello giusto, per formarsi.
Fotografato con intelligenza, una regia mai sopra le righe, contenuta al punto giusto e consapevole dei tempi di scena che sa dar spazio ai primi piani e ai campi lunghi nei momenti giusti.
I difetti non mancano, l'opera prima è sempre bastarda, ma il tempo per migliorarsi e migliorare c'è sicuramente.
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