Miele opened in Rome on May 1, so a few reviews have already appeared, and we begin with Lee Marshall in Screen: “In Italian actress Valeria Golino’s feature directing debut, euthanasia is a dirty job—but somebody has to do it. Playing in this year’s Un Certain Regard section at Cannes—though perhaps it would have been a better fit for the Quinzaine or Critics’ Week—this feisty low-budget drama works well as a sympathetic portrait of a rootless young woman with a fierce DIY code of ethics whose clandestine missions of mercy to the terminally ill are shaded and scarred by moral ambivalence, not least because she gets paid handsomely for her work. But after a promising start, Miele loses its way, drifting with its central character, and ends up as a less-than-groundbreaking tale of misfits who bond across a generation gap.”
Jasmine Trinca, who’s appeared in Nanni Moretti’s The Son’s Room (2001) and Marco Tullio Giordana’s The Best of Youth (2003), plays Irene, “whose code name is Miele (Honey),” notes Deborah Young in the Hollywood Reporter. “She works for her ex-lover (Libero Di Rienzo), a hospital physician who gives her the contacts of patients wanting to accelerate their end…. The real film, however, is about Irene’s progressive de-humanization and alienation from other people, including her married lover (Vinicio Marchioni), who arranges trysts in the family station wagon complete with a baby seat. Golino and co-screenwriters Francesca Marciano and Valia Santella show strong sensitivity towards Irene’s inner battle between her convictions and her private life…. The turning point comes when she’s sent to help a cynical, bored architect (Carlo Cecchi) end his existential pain. When she discovers he’s not ill, just sick of living, her morals rebel.”
There seems to be a glitch with the link to Jay Weisberg‘s review in Variety, but over the weekend, he wrote that “aided by Gergely Poharnok’s expert lensing, Golino makes the leap into the director’s chair with consummate assurance… Also making a feature-length debut, as producer, is Riccardo Scamarcio, dismissed as just a handsome heartthrob when he first began acting but increasingly positioning himself as a talent to watch in front of and behind the screen. Buena Onda, the shingle he founded with Golino and Viola Prestieri, looks set to make a mark as a much-needed, high-profile artsy Italo production house, should this film garner the attention it deserves.”
Update, 5/17: The festival‘s posted a brief interview with Golino.
Update, 5/18: The Playlist‘s Kevin Jagernauth finds that “for all the respect with which Golino handles her film and themes, Miele could use a few more notes within its narrative melody. Predictable isn’t quite the right word, but the picture heads into expected places, with admirable results, but one feels it’s missing one more notch or gear to kick the material onto a slightly higher plane. And yet, some slight missteps—including the distracting use of songs by The Shins, Thom Yorke and David Byrne—can be overlooked by simply by how well Golino establishes her voice, and a careful control of pitch and tone, particularly on her first feature outing behind the camera.”
Update, 5/20: Listening (10’22”). The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Eugene Hernandez talks with Golino about “her interests in form over content in film and talks about how she was inspired by Barry Levinson, Julie Taymor and Sean Penn to become a director. Apparently, she received great advice and learned some tough lessons, too.”
Update, 6/1: At Filmmaker, Ariston Anderson has five questions for Golino.
Cannes 2013 Index. And you can watch over 100 films that have seen their premieres in Cannes right here on Fandor. For news and tips throughout the day every day, follow @KeyframeDaily on Twitter and/or the RSS feed. Get Keyframe Daily in your inbox by signing in at fandor.com/daily.