Facing Windows

"Good"

Facing Windows Review


Director and screenwriter Ferzan Ozpetek's latest movie Facing Windows begins like a Hitchcock thriller. 1943 in Nazi occupied Italy. Late one night a young man commits murder, runs off into the wet and shadowy back alleys, and mysteriously disappears forever.

In sudden counterpoint to this fear and tension from the past come the modern strains of a couple arguing about kids and money. Giovanna (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) hates her job as a bookkeeper in a chicken factory and husband Filippo (Filippo Nigro) can't seem to hold a job and is too dependent on her. She wants more from him than he seems able to give.

It's a visual shift in tone that Ozpetek brings into play throughout the movie, using it wisely and deftly to explore his themes of how desire conflicts with reality -- how unexpected events impose themselves on our dreams. The technique works so well it carries us through the predictability of the story.

Giovanna escapes the weary burden of job, children, and husband with a pre-bed ritual: She stands by the kitchen window and smokes, turning out the light to better gaze through the window at the apartment facing hers. The good-looking bachelor across the way, Lorenzo (Raoul Bova), lives a conventional life, but to Giovanna he is full of mystery and yearning. It's a standard device, and again Hitchcockian, but Ozpetek makes it his own by getting us to empathize with Giovanna's conflict between what she longs for and what she has.

Meanwhile Filippo only makes his wife feel more careworn when he brings home a half-senile old man he found on the street. Simone (Massimo Girotti) doesn't remember who or where he is, but he is clean, well dressed, and speaks in enigmatic clues. It is through him that Giovanna gets a chance meeting with Lorenzo and this sets off her journey to discover who this man is, where he came from, and of course, discover herself in the process.

Simone's story reflects back to that opening scene, but solving that mystery isn't the movie's story. Simone offers wisdom, for he, like Giovanna, was sidetracked and his life has been one of unfulfilled desires. He urges Giovanna not to repeat his mistake. If her real passion is to become a pastry chef, then quit bookkeeping and make the sacrifices necessary. Want to go off with Lorenzo? Why suffer Filippo?

This "follow your bliss" message from the wise old man is groan-worthy. Still Ozpetek takes us through the weak story by using flashbacks to show how Simone's youthful conflicts and yearnings parallel Giovanna's similar emotions in the present. It's remarkably insightful and observant. In the movie's most poignant scene, Giovanna finally goes to Lorenzo's apartment (he has been gazing at her through the window and wanting her as she has been wanting him) only to discover her long-held passion is not the liberating, unbridled delight she expected. Looking through Lorenzo's window at her own apartment, she sees her children and their father playing, having a grand time. He's a great father, and isn't that what she wanted? She then imagines her own figure gazing back at her. Our wishes come with conflict and consequences.

Until recently Ozpetek's reputation was based mainly on gay cult films. When Facing Windows swept the Italian Oscars (David Di Donatello awards) in 2003 he earned a distribution deal in the United States and entered the international mainstream. Ozpetek may be a director who gets inside his characters better than he tells a story, but that may develop and change. We're going to see more of his distinct talents in the future.

Aka La Finestra di fronte.

Window shopping makes me hungry.



Facing Windows

Facts and Figures

Run time: 102 mins

In Theaters: Friday 18th June 2004

Box Office USA: $0.4M

Box Office Worldwide: $374 thousand

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

Production compaines: Clap Filmes, R&C Produzioni, AFS Film

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
Fresh: 42 Rotten: 24

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Simone / Davide Veroli, as Lorenzo, as Filippo, as Giovanna

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.