Review: ‘Imperfect Love’

After winning Venice's first feature prize for "This Is the Garden" in 1999, helmer Giovanni Davide Maderna stumbles awkwardly with "Imperfect Love." Based all too obviously on actual events that made Italian headlines, story tells of a poor young Catholic couple who learn that their unborn son has no brain and will live only a few days.

After winning Venice’s first feature prize for “This Is the Garden” in 1999, helmer Giovanni Davide Maderna stumbles awkwardly with “Imperfect Love.” Based all too obviously on actual events that made Italian headlines, story tells of a poor young Catholic couple who learn that their unborn son has no brain and will live only a few days. They decide to have the child anyway, hoping for a miracle. Pic embellishes this real-life tragedy with fictional details that in any other country would be grounds for a lawsuit: As the baby struggles for life, the father is suspected of being a rapist. Police aspects add nothing to the personal and moral drama, which Maderna tackles from an uncomfortably sentimental angle. Given its tone, pic may have its best chance on the small screen.

Angela (Marta Belaustegui) is deeply religious and names the baby Miguel, after a saint whose amputated leg is said to have grown back. Hounded by callous reporters, a police investigator and neighbors who send anonymous hate mail, husband Sergio (Enrico Lo Verso) cracks under the strain. Maderna is skillful in letting auds decide whether they’re saints or just irresponsible.

Imperfect Love

Italy-Spain

Production

An Eyescreen, Kubla Khan, Rai Cinema (Italy)/Tornasol Films (Spain) co-production. Produced by Andrea Occhipinti, Umberto Massa, Gerardo Herrero. Directed, written by Giovanni Davide Maderna.

Crew

Camera (color), Yves Cape; editor, Paola Freddi; music, Bernardo Bonezzi; production designer, Massimo Santomarco. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (competing, Cinema of the Present), Sept. 6, 2001. Running time: 92 MIN.

With

Enrico Lo Verso, Marta Belaustegui, Federico Scribani, Francesco Carnelutti.
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