Saturday, 30 April 2011

Valeria Solarino & Claudia Gerini in "Viaggio Segreto" [2006 Italy]

Roberto Ando's melodrama, "Viaggio Segreto" [Eng. Title: Secret Journey] attempts to achieve a lot. It's ambitious in its scope but somehow fails to get there, and that's mainly because the story isn't fully developed. There is plenty of suspense, and it also builds up like a thriller, but nothing nearly substantial emerges towards the end.

I think Ando visualised grand scenarios and tried to patch-up a story around it. There's the haunting imagery of the protagonist recollecting events from the past as he walks through his forlorn childhood home, and the tense but deeply loving relationship between brother and sister pointing to a common harrowing past. All this is fine, but when it gets to explaining what happened, it falls way short. The film by itself is beautiful to watch, the cinematography is sumptuous, even if I have reservations with the lighting, Marco Betta's soundtrack is mesmerising, and the Billie Holiday song has been used effectively to recreate the brooding atmosphere. And of course, the film is filled with well dressed (and undressed) beautiful people. Shame - it had the potential to be a great film!

Leo, a psychoanalyst in Rome, receives a letter from the priest in his childhood town in Sicily, about his family home being put up for sale. The last time he was there, he was a thirteen year old boy, and his sister Ale, seven. They left Sicily after her mother gets killed under strange circumstances, and the father is imprisoned for manslaughter. The letter brings back memories and he decides to pay a visit after twenty years, with the intention of perhaps even making an alternative offer to the estate agent. The visit will open up dark secrets hidden away in Leo's consciousness and bring it to the fore. The same happens to Ale, as they finally come to terms with their past.

Compilation 1: Claudia Gerini
Adelle - the mother of Leo and Ale, is a passionate woman in love with father Michele, but also prone to tantrums, mainly caused by jealousy. Leo worships her, and watches everything she does from a distance. Adele is excellently portrayed by Claudia Gerini - intense and full of passion.

Claudia Gerini in Viaggion Segreto

Scene Guide:
  • By the swimming pool - Leo won't get naked but Adelle likes to swim in the nude.
  • Recollections of Leo as he watches his parents arguing, making up, dancing, and having sex in the living room, assuming the kids are asleep.
  • On the night Adelle is killed, both Leo and Ale are witness to what happened. I've of course edited this to avoid giving away the plot.

Compilation 2: Valeria Solarino
Ale grows up to be a beautiful young woman. She had completely blocked out what happened on the fateful day when they had to leave Sicily, but retains a strong bond with brother Leo. Ale is played by the classy Valeria Solarino. She gives a restrained but effective performance as the sister determined to move on with life.

Valeria Solarino in Viaggio Segreto

Scene Guide:
  • A brief look at Anna, the estate agent commissioned to sell Leo's parental home. Leo and Anna develop a bond during his stay in Sicily - here he finally tells her that he had lived in the property she's trying to sell until he was thirteen, a fact Anna already knew but waited for him to disclose on his own. Anna is played by bella ragazza Donatella Finocchiaro.
  • Ale had asked brother Leo to come and see her - she had something important to tell him. She emerges from the bath and tells him she's being seeing someone for the past three months - a painter, and is even considering marriage.
  • No nudity but sexy upskirt as Ale answers a call from Leo. I just love those legs..!
  • This is a beautiful scene - with brother Leo. It's also the scene when Ale remembers her parents and events from childhood, and starts to come to terms - it's a closure of sorts - now she can start life afresh...


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