This is a poignant story of lost love and regret, the choices we make and consequences they bring.† It weaves a complex pattern of connecting threads to link a contemporary woman in a love triangle with a gay romance 60 years earlier.
Rome in 1943, a desperate man flees a bakery on a dark night when the Fascists round up Jewish residents in the ghetto to take them to concentration camps.
Gianna is nearly 30, with two children.† She and husband Filippo donít spend much time together because he works night shifts, and when they do they argue.† Trapped in a marriage thatís lost its spark and stuck in a job she hates, bad tempered Gianna looks with lustful longing through her kitchen window at a gorgeous man in the flat opposite.† Itís not that she doesnít love Filippo, but sheís frustrated and unfulfilled both as wife and in her mundane job at a chicken factory, disappointed with life.
Then one day out for a shopping trip she and Filippo meet a confused elderly man with nowhere to go.† To Giannaís disgust her soft-hearted husband takes pity on this man and brings him home.† Cue tension and marital strife.† However as Gianna learns his story she becomes attached to the mysterious stranger who tells her daughter his name is Simone, moreover they share a passion, for pastry: what Gianna really wanted was her own patisserie.
When the old man goes missing, Gianna goes looking for him and meets her hunk from the window.† They tentatively begin an affair, when it turns out handsome banker Lorenzoís been secretly obsessed with her for months.† This despite having a beautiful man at home who also happens to be a good father to her children.
There are fine performances, particularly Gianna and the old man, and both Filippo with his buff body and male model Lorenzo are easy on the eye though underdeveloped as characters.† I enjoyed Giannaís friend, always willing to help out with childcare and advice about not allowing opportunity to slip away.
I really wish the gay love story had been given more time as itís the most powerful relationship.† I couldnít quite believe in the romance between Gianna & dreamboat Lorenzo, more like wish-fulfilment fantasy than anything real, besides earthy Filippo is sexier.† Also, to compare respective situations involving informants and death camps with the flirtation of a bored wife who thinks maybe the grass is greener across the way seems disrespectful.† Still, the way past and present collide for Simone shows in a few intense scenes the difficult situation for gay men in 1940s Italy that compelled him to make an impossible choice, and influences Gianna in her own decisions.† Donít be content just to survive Simone tells Gianna, go for it, live your dream.† And count your blessings you have the chance to grow a love beyond initial attraction.
Simone and Gianna produce glorious concoctions of pastries & cakes, near-pornographic displays of sweet delights, so this isnít a good one to watch if youíre on a diet!†
I enjoyed the film with its lovely musical score, though not as good as Ozpetekís wonderful Le Fate Ignoranti (review soon).† I wonder whether heís toned down the gay (he also made Hamam the Turkish Bath) to move into the mainstream?