by Roderick Conway Morris

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Dove Sei? Io Sono Qui (Where Are You? I'm Here)


By Roderick Conway Morris
VENICE, Italy 3 December 1993

 

Twenty years on from "The Night Porter", Cavani has produced a crusading film on Italy's failure to provide properly for the deaf - but presented in human, not polemical terms. Fausto (Gaetano Carotenuto), a deaf boy from a prosperous family, meets Elena (Chiara Caselli), a deaf girl from a working-class home. Fausto's ferocious mother (Anna Bonaiuto), has brought up her son to deny his handicap, forbidding him from using sign language and associating with other deaf children, and does everything she can to sabotage the blossoming love affair. Elena has dropped out of high school for want of the special teaching she is entitled to by Italian law, but that does not actually exist - though she has retained her passion for Catullus's Latin love poetry, finding dignity and self respect in reciting verses in this dead language. Fausto persuades her to go back to school, where her struggles in the classroom and final triumph over her teachers' hostility and fellow students' impatience and ridicule create some of the most moving scenes in recent cinema.

Twenty years on from "The Night Porter", Cavani has produced a crusading film on Italy's failure to provide properly for the deaf - but presented in human, not polemical terms. Fausto (Gaetano Carotenuto), a deaf boy from a prosperous family, meets Elena (Chiara Caselli), a deaf girl from a working-class home. Fausto's ferocious mother (Anna Bonaiuto), has brought up her son to deny his handicap, forbidding him from using sign language and associating with other deaf children, and does everything she can to sabotage the blossoming love affair. Elena has dropped out of high school for want of the special teaching she is entitled to by Italian law, but that does not actually exist - though she has retained her passion for Catullus's Latin love poetry, finding dignity and self respect in reciting verses in this dead language. Fausto persuades her to go back to school, where her struggles in the classroom and final triumph over her teachers' hostility and fellow students' impatience and ridicule create some of the most moving scenes in recent cinema.


First published: International Herald Tribune

© Roderick Conway Morris 1975-2016