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MOLESTED LOVE

Italy, 1995 (MIFF 1996, Contemporary World Cinema )

Director: Mario Martone

70-year-old Amalia fails to arrive for a visit to her daughter Delia's home Missing for 48 hours, she is finally discovered drowned on a beach in Naples wearing only an exotic red bra. Delia travels to Naples for her mother's funeral and witnesses a number of unsettling events that indicate Amalia had another life unknown to anyone. Suspecting foul play. Delia decides to unravel what she sees as the mystery of her mother's murder.

Given these initial plot elements, what could have emerged as a typical giallo Italian thriller is transformed by Mario Martone into a harrowing journey of self discovery for Delia (Anna Bonaiuto in a compelling role) as she confronts not only the truth about her own relationship with her mother but also her violent artist father, his brother Filippo and Amalia's suspected lover, the rakish Caserta. It is the elusive nature of memory, the echoes of childhood trauma provoked by these encounters and Delia's struggle to make sense of them that emerge as Martone's main concerns. Everything is seen from her perspective, and through Bonaiuto's deft performance, we understand the conflicting emotions beneath the sexually repressed surface of a woman who regardless of the trauma, has to travel backward rather than forward in order to discover not only her mother's fate but also ner own. The resolution of the mystery is dealt with entirely in emotional terms and Martone maintains an atmosphere of constant dread culminating in Delia's final discovery (cm)


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