Country: France / Italy
Movie Review: In Eugene Green’s “La Sapienza”, a strenuous camera guides us through architectural views and details before introducing us to Alexandre Schmidt (Fabrizio Rongione), a respected French architect who's being awarded for a lifetime’s work. Lyrical music floats in the air and Alexander’s speech, which referenced the human progress and praised the environmental consciousness, despite routine, pleased his wife, Aliénor (Christelle Prot), a dispirited psychoanalyst who still suffers in silence with the early death of their only child. The insomniac Alexander also lives embittered, haunted by the ghost of a former colleague and kind of a rival, who ended up shooting himself in the head. This story has a parallel with the rivalry between the renowned architects Borromini and Bernini. The former’s work is still being studied by Alexander, who considers it genius and mystical while he compares the latter’s with his own work - rational and respectful of powers, hierarchies, and rules. The couple faces some rebuffs on their respective professions and decides to make a trip to Italy in order to think things over. While passing by Stresa, on their way to Rome, they stop to assist two young siblings - Goffredo (Ludovico Succio), a recently graduated who’s about to go to Venice to study architecture, and his sister, Lavinia (Arianna Nastro), who just had another of her frequent and inexplicable dizzy spells. Aliénor thinks she can help her and refuses to leave the city until Lavinia is completely recovered while Alexandre takes Goffredo to Rome in a sort of a study trip. All four protagonists will learn how to liberate their own ‘ghosts’ that stubbornly remained imprisoned in them for so many years. Whereas the adults unexpectedly become students, the youngsters become teachers, and the light that brings perceptiveness gradually invades the dark spots of their lives. Mr. Green, influenced by the style of Manoel de Oliveira, Antonioni, and Pasolini, engenders a fascinating conception, a healing process that contemplates the human existence. Risky, complex, and perhaps too much articulated in its dialogues, “La Sapienza” is formal in the methodology and yet liberal in the message.