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VENICE 2010 Controcampo Italiano

Lost Kisses, an Italian miracle

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Lost Kisses, an Italian miracle

Which is the true miracle? A young girl who (perhaps) sees the Madonna, or a mother who makes amends for all the kisses she has never given? Both, suggests Roberta Torre, whose film Lost Kisses [+see also:
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opened the Controcampo Italiano section.

The young girl, 13-year-old Manuela (Carla Marchese), is a teenager like any other, with her mp3-player at full volume to avoid hearing the rows between her frustration-filled parents (Donatella Finocchiaro and Giuseppe Fiorello).

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One night, while they are playing ball beneath the windows of her house, some kids the same age as her knock the head off a statue of the Virgin who “watches over” the neighbourhood. The head disappears, hidden in a garage, until one morning Manuela confides to her parents, and Paris Hilton-wannabe sister, that she knows where it is.

Indeed, the Madonna herself told her: nobody believes Manuela, especially not the parish priest (Pino Micol), but there’s no harm in trying: and, once the statue has been found, rumour of the miraculous vision soon gets round Catania (Librino, to be precise, metaphysical “auteurial” outskirts designed by architect Kenzo Tange, whose unfinished buildings were abandoned to a fate of drug dealing and decay). This attracts swarms of devout people looking for miracles to the house of this “sacred family”.

After making fun of the mafia in her musical film Tano da Morire, is Torre now targeting religion? No, on the contrary: the film opens with a statue that peers at and “chooses” among the crowd the new Bernadette, without any blasphemous temptation, and continues to look at popular religiousness, with hairdressers who are better at tarot cards than backcombing hair (a sardonic Piera Degli Esposti) and the rather demanding requests of those hoping for miracles.

At the heart of the film – almost entirely woman-centred as is often the case in Torre’s films – there is, explains the director, the portrait of “a young girl who becomes a little woman”. This is mirrored by the portrait of her mother, a showy, fake blonde disillusioned with life, in an entertaining, loud and over-the-top performance by Finocchiaro.

Produced by Rosettafilm and Nuvola Film, in collaboration with Adriana Chiesa Enterprises (who are also handling international sales), Lost Kisses doesn’t yet have an Italian distributor. And what if the real miracle, for so many Italian films today, was actually getting a theatrical release?

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(Translated from Italian)

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