La Seconda Volta

The "Second Time Around" might bring Frank Sinatra to the minds of some, but this is a whole other kind of song and dance. A clearer translation might be "Two Sides to Every Story" for a film in which screen suspense builds through various emotions movingly experienced by the two main characters. This is an interesting cat and mouse game beautifully and intensely portrayed by Nanni Moretti and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi as, respectively, the victim of a terrorist and terrorist who now becomes a victim. Lisa's activities in 70's Italy (anni di piombo) as an urban terrorist have landed her in jail where, after serving 12 years of a 30 year sentence, she is allowed to work outside the prison walls on a day-release program. As fate would have it, the university professor Alberto Sajevo (Moretti), who still has a bullet lodged in his head from a terrorist attack, once again crosses the path of his assailant and begins to pursue her in what she mistakenly believes to be an innocent love pursuit. No longer recognizing him, Lisa (Tedeschi), nervous with her own truth, lies about herself while he, at the same time, pretends to believe whatever she tells him. Once directly confronted with the truth by him, Lisa gives up her privileges of freedom for fear of further invasion into her life. Something much more complicated, however, has transpired in their relationship to each other and a new development has come about that neither would have imagined possible beforehand. Their lives are touched by each other once again, but the possibility of real communication remains elusive. Their values, their understandings and their lives are ultimately incompatible and, as a result, defy mutual comprehension.

This extremely difficult topic is brought under the microscope in a very sensitive way. What could easily have become a tedious and boring film turns out to have an immensely interesting human edge to it. Mimmo Calopresiti, whose work to date almost exclusively involves documentary subjects, deserves much credit for this first feature film. His personal knowledge of ex-terrorists and their activities, as well as an awareness of the imminent release of several from jail, sparked off what has turned into a prize winning script (penned by Heidrun Schleff, Francesco Bruni, and himself) that tells a personal tale. Superb points for the subtly tuned performance of Valeria Bruni Tedeschi.

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett