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					“Facing Windows” (La Finestra di Fronte) (2004).                    In this 107 minute, full
color contemporary Italian romantic drama, directed by Verzan Ozpetek, we find
Giovanna, (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), a Roman housewife and mother, stuck in a dull
marriage, to a man who loses his jobs often; a dull job, at a chicken packing factory, and
a dull and hopeless feeling life. But she finds some interest in Lorenzo (Raoul Bova), the
handsome, well-built man who lives across from her, and whose window faces hers. And
she, surprisingly, begins to rebuild her life by learning to care for Simone AKA Davide
Veroli, the internationally-famed fine baker and senile Jewish Holocaust survivor who
has wandered into it one day.

Simone appears to be obsessed by the long-ago happenings of Autumn, 1943, the waning
days of World War II, when Rome was occupied by the Germans and the lives of many
Jews were in danger. But, as played by the veteran actor Massimo Girotti, (ART OF
LOVE), he functions as the heart of the movie, and has many life lessons to teach
Giovanna, not least in the areas of love – and fine baking. The film is dedicated to
Girotti, who died shortly after its completion; before casting him, director Ozpetek, (
STEAM-THE TURKISH BATH), considered casting the better-known Jean Rochefort,
(MR. BEAN’S HOLIDAY), and Serge Reggiani, (CASQUE D’OR), for the role.

The movie was filmed on location in Rome, and shows it as the lively bustling
cosmopolitan city it is today. The Holocaust theme, which is at the core of the movie, is
an original, powerful, graceful and moving one that I’ve not seen or read of before. But,
apparently, the film makers didn’t trust it to carry the film, and so chose to utilize a
flashback and frame structure to tell their story. And, unfortunately, the contemporary
romance that frames the evocative wartime romance is predictable. We’ve seen it,
many’s the time. Worth seeing, for those who care about the subject matter.

				
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posted:5/12/2012
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