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VENICE 2009 Competition / Italy

Comencini and The White Space of waiting


Comencini and The White Space of waiting

The "white space" is a place where nothing happens, a land of waiting and time of throbbing anguish. This is what 40-year-old Maria (Margherita Buy), who has given birth to a premature baby girl, is going through. Now Maria is waiting for her daughter to be born. Or die.

In competition at the Venice Film Festival, The White Space [+see also:
film profile
director, Francesca Comencini, told "For so many years, feminism was associated with the right not to be a mother. Motherhood is a neglected topic". The 48-year-old filmmaker chose to focus on a 40-year-old woman, who is "a young girl in some respects, and very old in others, but never in between. She is never a mature woman".

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In the film, Buy plays a single woman who lives in Naples, teaches Italian to workers at an evening school, often goes dancing in clubs and falls in love with men. She becomes pregnant by a single man who already has a child and doesn’t want any more.

Now, in front of the incubator in the hospital neonatal department, she watches this tiny creature who is only six months old. Her students are too old to study and her baby girl too small to live, but the former will pass their exams and the latter will get a chance at life. Adults and newborns succeed in their struggle.

Co-written by the director and Federica Pontremoli, The White Space is based on Valeria Parrella’s eponymous novel. Comencini explained: "I thought Maria was a wonderful character. I love her concrete approach, her stubbornness and fighting spirit. And I thought she avoided the idea of Neapolitanness, in the sense of instinctiveness. Adapting the book into a film was a three-way process, from Valeria to me, to Margherita."

Produced by Fandango and RAI Cinema, the film will be released in Italian theatres on October 16.

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(Translated from Italian)

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