Review: ‘Old Women’

A minimalist experience, whose exposure will likely be confined to latenight Italian TV, this is a black-and-white, one-shot, one-room, two-character piece of extremely limited appeal, although the performances of the two actress involved are always engaging to watch.

A minimalist experience, whose exposure will likely be confined to latenight Italian TV, this is a black-and-white, one-shot, one-room, two-character piece of extremely limited appeal, although the performances of the two actress involved are always engaging to watch.

Leitzia (Maria Grazia Grassini) and Agata (Barbara Valmorin), who are in their mid-60s, live together. On this particular morning, they get up early but seem reluctant to get dressed and leave the house. Instead, they sit (or stand) in the sparsely-furnished kitchen and talk, endlessly, about their lives, their youth, their loves, and their response to aging. The static camera records the performances of these two excellent actors with a certain affection, and there are amusing moments (such as the conclusion expressed that they were born in a time of fascism and appear likely to die in one too, an unkind reference to the government of Silvio Berlusconi). Moments like this, which will impact on Italian audiences, will, like the rest of the film, mean little elsewhere.

Old Women

Italy

Production

A Pablo Film-I Cammelli Film production. Produced by Gianluca Arcopinto, Daniele Segre. Directed by Daniele Segre. Screenplay, Segre, Maria Grazia Grassini, Barbara Valmorin.

Crew

Camera (B&W), Paolo Ferrari; production designer/costume designer, Segre. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (New Territories), Sept. 4, 2002. Running time: 83 MIN.

With

Maria Grazia Grassini, Barbara Valmorin.
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