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I just finished watching the movie Malena with Monica Bellucci, she also played in the Matrix and the Marovingian's Wife. This film is a foreign film from Italy. I first saw this movie a couple of days ago, but it was the cut version for America, but I was able to get a hold on the original version and found it to be better then the cut version. The film in my opinion was great, it had a great story line. I found myself drawn to the two main characters, Malena and Renato, and the trails that each of them are going through. You see Renato who is in the movie going from innocence into manhood. Malena suffers the trials of losing loved ones and the jealous women of the town. The soundtrack was equally great, I found that it added to the ambiance of the whole film. If you don't mind watching a movie that requires you to read subtitles I would suggest this one. Though it is rated R and has a fair amount of nudity and adult situations, it was still a decent movie.

Plot - On the day in 1940 that Italy enters the war, two things happen to the 12-year-old Renato: he gets his first bike, and he gets his first look at Malèna, a beautiful, silent outsider who's moved to this Sicilian town to be with her husband Nico who promptly goes off to war, leaving her to the lustful eyes of the men and the sharp tongues of the women. During the next few years, as Renato grows toward manhood, he watches Malèna suffer and prove her mettle: her loneliness, then grief when Nico is reported dead, the effects of slander on her relationship with her father, her poverty and search for work, and final humiliations. Will Renato learn courage from Malèna and stand up for her? [Source] - If you want to read the entire plot I've linked it here.

The rumor is though, that the director Tornatore describes this film not as a "coming of age" picture (that in essence is what Paradiso is) but rather an allegory of Italy's foray into war and fascism as seen through the eyes of an innocent (in this case Tornatore himself). Malena represents all that Italy was and is to him, both beautiful, easily misled, and misunderstood, and the climatic scene in which she is beaten down is in essence what happened to the country post Mussolini and WWII. Just food for thought

Some of the Soundtrack and movie stills:

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