The Film Movement October 2, 2018 separate DVD and Blu-ray releases of "Elena Ferrante on Film" is notable for bringing North America film adaptations of two of the four novels of the Neapolitan Quartet by the titular author. We do not get a movie version of My Brilliant Friend but do see The Days of Abandonment (2005) and Troubling Love (1995). Love is the first book in the quartet. and Days is the second.
The beautiful Italian scenery and vibrant colors of the city life in both "Days," which aired at the Venice Film Festival, and Cannes selection "Love" look and sound spectacular in Blu-ray. The accolades for "Days" include the 2006 Golden Globe Italy awards for Best Screenplay and for recognition of the performance of Olga portrayor Margherita Buy. The astounding 17 awards for "Love" reflect the quality of that film.
An amusing aspect of "Days" involves a pre-viewing joke about an overwrought scene involving the dialogue "Marcello you dirty bastard and your filthy whore." It turns out that this film about Mario unexpectedly and rapidly leaving wife Olga and their two children has a moment that is very close to that prediction. Olga is on the street when she sees Mario and his trophy squeeze; this leads to confronting the couple and forcibly removing a family heirloom from the aforementioned skank.
"Days" begins with Olga believing that she and Mario have a happy marriage; they are enjoying a day out with the kids and the family dog Otto. Olga also dismisses the concern of a friend that Mario is the next target of the local slut. It turns out that both women are partially correct.
People in committed relationships all over the world can relate to Mario subsequently sitting Olga down and telling her that he is immediately leaving her to develop a better understanding of self. This leads to Olga becoming a woman on the edge of a nervous breakdown,
The global relatability of "Days" continues with Olga treating every rain that we all experience in life as if it is a monsoon; she is equally predictable regarding acts such as searching for the new home of Mario. The real drama and trauma enters in the form of Olga going off the rails regarding acts that include reflecting her own psyche into the latest novel that she is translating.
Olga also begins hallucinating in ways that create ambiguity regarding whether it is live or it is insanity. An example is seeing a lizard who may not be real but provides an ideal opportunity to refer to the classic "Golden Girls" "Sicilian gecko" line.
Of course, this culminates in a traumatic night that equally predictably involves the cello player who lives downstairs with whom Olga has a very "its complicated" relationship. The better news is that there at least is closure.
"Love" has more depth and intrigue than "Days." This one revolves around Delia, who is happily living in Bologna until she begins receiving odd telephone calls from her mother Amalia in Naples, These conversations revolve a man presenting a variable degree of a threat.
The plot thickens on the Naples police calling Delia to inform her of discovering her mother floating in the sea; Mom only wearing a lacy red bra is part of the mystery.
Delia returns to her childhood home to attend the funeral and to try to better understand what had recently been occurring in the life of her mother. Sepia-toned flashbacks and the results of the investigation soon reveal that neighbort Caserta is once again stirring up trouble decades after an incident that causes the father of Delia to leave his family and that prompts a decades-long rage in Filipo, who is the uncle of Delia. All this makes "Love" a melodramatic version of "Girls."
"Days" draws in the audience even more as Delia falls further down the rabbit hole as mdirect proportion to her investigation netting results that she cannot interpret. A prime example of this includes a visit to a clothing store that literally and figuratively quickly goes south.
Delia connecting with a childhood ally allows her to better understand recent events; the larger significance of this reunion is that it triggers repressed memories that reveal the truth regarding the childhood events that deeply impact the family of Delia,
The similarities between "Love" and "Days" extend beyond centering around middle-aged women in crisis; there are elements of bodies floating in water and of relationships with men not being what thy seem. We further get the message of the importance of a woman "Manning up" and not relying on a white knight.
The bonus feature is "Elena and the Boosk" in which cast and crew members discussing the film adaptations. Amusingly, a time constraint is behind not watching that featurette but reading the essay in the enclosed booklet. That analysis by College of Staten Island professor Giancarlo Lombardi provides strong insight regarding the source material, the casting of the films, and numerous nuances that most American viewers otherwise would miss. The rest of the booklet consists of correspondence by Ferrante and others regarding the making of the two films.
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