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Two diametrically opposed Italo women form an unlikely and unusual bond in “The Call,” the disconnected, Buenos Aires-set sophomore feature from Stefano Pasetto. As in his first pic, “Turtles on Their Backs,” the Italian scribe-helmer looks at two contrasting lives that are unexpectedly (and romantically) linked, but the result here is more muddled than meaningful. Attractive lead perfs will have to do most of the heavy lifting needed to get this out of the gay ghetto.

Plucky, tomboyish Lea (Francesca Inaudi) does manual labor in a poultry-processing plant but lives life to the max, while the feminine Lucia, a frigid flight attendant and piano teacher married to an absent-minded doctor (Cesar Bordon), is a bourgeois bundle of nerves. Both actresses fully inhabit their bilingual roles, but their opposing natures feel calculated rather than natural. Their inevitable romance is Opposites Attract 101, while any non-romantic narrative ideas are too scattered to hold interest. Supporting characters have more individuality, with Lea’s homely tattoo artist b.f. (Guillermo Pfening) especially interesting — and shortchanged. Tech credits — including cinematography, location work and costume design — are sharp. Spanish title is “La llamada.”

The Call

Italy

  • Production: An Iter Films, Rai Cinema presentation and production, in association with Dock Sur Producciones. (International sales: Adriana Chiesa Enterprises, Rome.) Produced by Pier Andrea Nocella, Gian Filippo Minervi, Antonio Cervi. Executive producer, Rosanna Seregni. Directed by Stefano Pasetto. Screenplay, Pasetto, Veronica Cascelli.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Guillermo Nieto; editor, Alessio Doglione; music, Andrea Farri; production designer, Romina del Prete; costume designer, Chiara Ferrantini. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Discovery), Sept. 14, 2010. Running time: 97 MIN.
  • With: With: Sandra Ceccarelli, Francesca Inaudi, Cesar Bordon, Guillermo Pfening, Arturo Goetz. (Spanish, Italian dialogue)
  • Music By: