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Real life characters make up the cast of Dolce. They include celebrated Japanese author Toshio Shimao, who died in 1986, his widow and their daughter. The film serves as a framework to underline deep insights into the family's history. The main narrative line is comprised of the lyrical monologues of the heroine. Miho Shimao (the writer's wife), who lives with her handicapped daughter, avoiding strangers, on a solitary island in the middle of the ocean. The discovery of her personality through the drama of self-analysis and the catharsis of spiritual denudation, proves the most important event in this woman's life, a life where actions mean less than emotions. With impressionist strokes, director Alexander Sokurov reveals the contours of memory, the contrasts of feelings and the nuances of the psyche.

"Emotions are awakened within us of a sort that cinema hasn't dealt with for a long time... (Sokurov's) unique pulse has reverberated through me ever since."—Nick Cave

"An intimate meditation on mother-daughter ties...minimalist scenes have such emotional intensity that one feels the director has lived through something similar.''—Variety