Thursday, July 24, 2014

ALLACCIATE LE CINTURE
(FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS)

MovieMov 4: Italian Cinema Now
Cinema 2, Shang Cineplex


A film about a couple whose opposite personalities at first vehemently clash against each other; yet find their attraction for each other is too powerful to resist. The first 20 minutes or so of the movie establishes the background as well as the milieu for Elena and Antonio to meet each other. From the get go, something about Antonio's brutally frank demeanour repels Elena who works at an open air bar/cafe.  Although they are both involved with other partners, something draws them closer to each other.  You might call it lust or blind obsession but it happens.

Then the plot jumps to 13 years later when Elena and Antonio are now married with two kids. Antonio hasn't changed he is still carefree and laid back while Elena is still the hard working and clearly a woman with many ambitions for herself, for her business as well as for her family. Naturally, you would say that despite their individual shortcomings and their contrasting personalities, they have a fairly successful marriage. Never mind that Elena is fully aware of Antonio's philandering ways.

Until they are thrown a curve ball by way of a health crisis. During her routine check up, Elena discovers she has breast cancer. Even though the film's title translates to "Fasten your Seatbelts" the ride is not as rough as one would expect. The second part primarily deals with Elena's time in the hospital as she undergoes chemotherapy for her cancer. With the full support of her family (Antonio, her mom, her aunt) and her friends (her best friend the gay Fabio) she is able to handle the chemo sessions even as she takes on a solemnly reflective mood. Quite understandably so as anyone battling a serious illness would be quite pensive about one's future.

For far beyond the daily grind of her thriving business, the constant worry about her husband's infidelity issues - the film basically shows us that the bond between Elena and Antonio remain intact throughout their marriage. That a difference in personalities and in their outlook in life and about life isn't a deterrent in making the marriage work. 

In an unlikely twist towards the end, the director uses a trick to take us back to the beach where it all began. A juxtaposed scene of Elena and Antonio on a bike (13 years ago) and them together in a SUV after he fetches her from the hospital.  I'm not sure this trick worked in the natural flow of the story of Elena and Antonio and neither do I know for sure just what Ferzan Ozpetek (Turkish director who now lives in Italy and has penned many Italian films) wanted to achieve in inserting this flash to the past sequence. 

All I can say and know is that Elena and Antonio's love will surely endure and last a long time and I guess in a love story and life in general ... that is all that truly matters!

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