You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

A Rekindled Affair

"A Rekindled Affair" reps middle-of-the-road filmmaking at its most old-fashioned. Movie-of-the-week stuff transposed to the bigscreen could capture limited arthouse coin abroad; home B.O. is likely to be respectable.

With: Stefano Accorsi, Maya Sansa, Marco Messeri, Luisanna Pandolfi, Vania Rotondi, Giacomo La Rosa, Anne Canovas. (Italian dialogue)

A period romance bathed in a prewar glow, “A Rekindled Affair” reps middle-of-the-road filmmaking at its most old-fashioned. Handsomely mounted yarn of an illicit affair boasts a fine cast, but helmer Carlo Mazzacurati is like a bachelor prepping his pad for a hot date: he’s got the candles out, the mood music playing, the perfect dinner in the oven, but in the end the souffle refuses to rise. Movie-of-the-week stuff transposed to the bigscreen could capture limited arthouse coin abroad; home B.O. is likely to be respectable.

Bank employee Giovanni (Stefano Accorsi) is transferred to his former hometown, entailing a considerable train commute. With his wedding ring hidden and hungry eyes roving, Giovanni takes full advantage of the idle travel hours. When he spies ex-flame Maria (Maya Sansa), he thinks she might be fun for a quickie, and they agree to a beachside assignation. The encounter reawakens something inside both of them, and soon they’re meeting regularly after banking hours and before the late train departs.

As a naval reservist, Giovanni gets called up for training in the Tuscan coastal city of Livorno, where he and Maria have more freedom to shack up, away from wagging tongues. They’re like a normal happy couple, until Maria spies Giovanni in a cafe with his wife and child and realizes their relationship has no future. World War II makes a brief appearance toward the end, helping our lovers to put a perspective on their liaison.

Fellow commuters on the train provide occasional amusement, but far too much time is spent showing Giovanni and Maria smooching and expressing their undying love. Neither Accorsi (“The Son’s Room,” “Ignorant Fairies”) nor Sansa (“Good Morning, Night,” “The Best of Youth”), both accomplished performers, get much of a chance to show their stuff, though they make a believable duo in the throes of obsession.

As in previous films (“Holy Tongue,” “Riding the Tiger”), Mazzacurati shows off his eye for attractive, carefully lit compositions, but beneath the surface pleasantries lies a drawn-out romantic meller so determined to focus on the loving couple that occasional interesting asides (Maria’s blackmailing family, for example) are picked up and dropped like tepid potatoes. Period flavor is mostly successful, except for a flashback sequence in which Sansa is saddled with ridiculously period-inappropriate wig and makeup.

A Rekindled Affair

Italy - France

Production: A Medusa release (in Italy) of a Biancafilm/Pyramide Prods. co-production, with the support of Eurimages and the participation of Canal Plus in cooperation with Medusa Film and Sky. (International sales: Pyramide Intl., Paris). Produced by Donatella Botti. Co-producer, Fabienne Vonier. Directed by Carlo Mazzacurati. Screenplay by Doriana Leondeff, Claudio Piersanti, Mazzacurati, freely based on the novel "Una relazione" by Carlo Cassola.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Luca Bigazzi; editor, Paolo Cottignola; music, Franco Piersanti; production designer, Giancarlo Basili; costume designer, Gianna Gissi; sound (Dolby Digital), Bruno Pupparo; assistant director, Cinzia Castania. Reviewed at the Venice Film Festival (out of competition), Sept. 8, 2004 (also in Toronto, Viacom Galas). Running time: 108 MIN.

With: With: Stefano Accorsi, Maya Sansa, Marco Messeri, Luisanna Pandolfi, Vania Rotondi, Giacomo La Rosa, Anne Canovas. (Italian dialogue)

More Film

  • C'est La Vie TIFF

    French Films' Overseas Box Office Revenue Drops 51% in 2018

    After bouncing back in 2017, the overseas box office revenue of French movies plummeted by 51% to 237 million euros ($270 million) with 40 million admissions sold, a 52% year-on drop, in 2018. The provisional box office figures were unveiled by UniFrance during a reception hosted at France’s culture minister during which Eric Toledano and [...]

  • Isabela Moner Shameik Moore Kiernan Shipka

    Netflix Casts Starry Ensemble for Adaptation of John Green's 'Let It Snow'

    “Dora the Explorer’s” Isabela Moner, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s” Shameik Moore, “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s” Kiernan Shipka, “Lady Bird’s” Odeya Rush, Jacob Batalon, Miles Robbins, Mitchell Hope, Liv Hewson, Anna Akana, and Joan Cusack are set to star in the Netflix pic “Let It Snow.” The film is based on the New York Times bestselling [...]

  • Brian Tyree Henry Playback Podcast If

    Listen: From 'Beale Street' to 'Spider-Verse,' Brian Tyree Henry Was Your 2018 MVP

    Welcome to “Playback,” a Variety / iHeartRadio podcast bringing you exclusive conversations with the talents behind many of today’s hottest films. Emmy- and Tony-nominated actor Brian Tyree Henry is coming off a sensational year. A second, acclaimed season of FX’s “Atlanta” sent him headlong into a fall movie season that saw featured roles in Yann [...]


    How a Costume Designer Brightened M. Night Shyamalan's 'Glass'

    Paco Delgado’s costumes are as varied as his films. Contrast the drama “The Danish Girl,” the futuristic fantasy “A Wrinkle in Time” and the period musical “Les Misérables.” Now he’s in comic-book territory with M. Night Shyamalan’s newest superhero/supervillain thriller, “Glass,” which Universal releases Jan. 17. The costume designer’s career began in Barcelona and London, [...]

  • The Lego Movie 2

    'Lego Movie 2' Heading for $55 Million Opening Weekend

    Warner Bros.’ “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” is heading for an opening weekend of as much as $55 million at the North American box office on Feb. 8-10, early tracking showed Thursday. Chris Pratt is returning to voice Master Builder Emmet Brickowski along with new character Rex Dangervest. The unfailingly optimistic Emmet has [...]

  • Kevin Hart Monopoly

    Kevin Hart in Talks to Star in Monopoly Movie

    Kevin Hart is in talks to star in Lionsgate and Hasbro’s Monopoly live-action movie, which he will also produce through his HartBeat Productions label. Tim Story is in final negotiations to direct the film and also produce through his Story Company banner. HartBeat’s John Cheng will also produce and oversee the pic with Carli Haney. Story Company [...]

  • Playtime Unveils Three New French Comedies

    Playtime Dives Into Different Waves of French Comedy (EXCLUSIVE)

    Playtime, the Paris-based co-production and sales company which will be presenting Francois Ozon’s anticipated “By the Grace of God” in competition at the Berlin Film Festival, has acquired three offbeat French comedies: Geraldine Nakache’s “I’ll Go Where You Go,” “The Bare Necessity” with Fanny Ardant, and Valerie Donzelli’s “Our Lady of Paris.” “Our Lady of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content