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Review: Ten Winters

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Love affair in Venice

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- A romantic comedy (and graduation film) by debut director Valerio Mieli, which won kudos at Venice, about a boy and girl who meet, like one another, lose contact and meet up again

Review: Ten Winters

How much time does it take to realise that a stranger we meet by chance is “the right person”, the love of our life? For Silvestro and Camilla, it probably only takes a glance, the look they steal at each other on the vaporetto, in Venice, in the winter of 1999. She, a shy student of Russian culture (Isabella Ragonese, again brilliant as a university student after Her Whole Life Ahead [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
) seeks solitude and concentration on a secluded island on the Lagoon. Lively and self-assured, he (Michele Riondino) makes the first move. But, a little out of fear and pride, they lose touch with each other.

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Fate brings them together again for ten winters, amid impromptu reunions (he goes to meet her in Moscow, where she has fallen in love with Chechov and mature actor Fjodor) and unexpected about-turns, excitement and depression, chance meetings and missed encounters.

The idea isn’t new in Italian cinema (Tavarelli’s A Love told a similar story in around ten episodes, and it’s perhaps no coincidence that the latter film ends where this one begins, at the end of 1999), but it provides debut director Valerio Mieli with the basis for a mature and young (right down to the technical and artistic team) “dramatic comedy” that is nonetheless far removed from the phoney romanticism of so-called youthful works.

Having started off as an idea for a degree essay (the director trained at the Italian National Film School, which co-produced the film with Rai Cinema and Russia’s United Film Company), the film developed into a rather demanding production: not only because of the trips to Moscow, but also the decision to shoot interior and outdoor scenes in “difficult” (and expensive) locations, including Venice and the surrounding area. The impressive cinematography by Marco Onorato (Gomorrah [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Domenico Procacci
interview: Jean Labadie
interview: Matteo Garrone
film profile
]
) captures the landscape of the Lagoon in unexpected glimpses, of everyday life in winter with fewer tourists, and scenes of fish markets and small, forgotten islands.

Alongside this sensitive portrayal of the locations is the direction of the actors. Despite the densely written screenplay (penned by Mieli, Isabella Aguilar, Davide Lantieri, under the supervision of Federica Pontremoli), the two protagonists bring their own personal contribution to the characters of Camilla and Silvestro, who are admirably credible and full of nuances.

Recognised by MiBAC as being “of national cultural interest”, Dieci inverni [+see also:
trailer
film focus
interview: Michele Riondino - actor
interview: Valerio Mieli
film profile
]
– which opened the new Controcampo Italiano section – will be released in Italy by Bolero Film. International sales are being managed by Rai Trade.

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Venezia 2009 Controcampo Italiano
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