With MALENA, Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore spins a romantic coming-of-age yarn about love, loss, and courage. Set in 1941 in a tiny village in Sicily, the film focuses on a group of 13-year-old boys who fall madly in love with Malena (Monica Bellucci), the wife of a local soldier. One of the boys, Renato Amoroso (Giuseppe Sulfaro), a dreamer who yearns for freedom from his war-bound village, revels in the exquisite beauty of the enchanting newcomer. He becomes her shadow, following her through the cobble stone streets and spying on her most intimate moments, overwhelmed with romantic longing for the first time. Malena has a magical spellbinding effect on the male villagers; her presence inspires fantasy and escape from their daily lives. But the women of the village, hardened by war, are quick to judge the nubile outsider. Malena becomes the focus of desire and seething jealousy in the town and she is eventually forced to face the female villagers in a bittersweet climax. Reminiscent of Federico Fellini’s nostalgic masterpiece AMARCORD, native Sicilian Tornatore revisits the dusty village streets of his childhood where adolescent boys learn about sex, desire, and ultimately, love. Like Tornatore’s critically acclaimed CINEMA PARADISO, he bathes the film in the sun-drenched light of his homeland, giving it a dreamy, earthy sensuality and a poetic spirit. Monica Bellucci is a delicious revelation, the camera lingers seductively on her bewitching beauty. Inspired by the story MA L’AMORE NO… by Luciano Vincenzoni.

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March 16, 2001


Giuseppe Tornatore


Giuseppe Tornatore (writer) & Luciano Vincenzoni (story)


United International Pictures (UIP)


Comedy, Drama, Romance, War




109 minutes