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Saturday, 23 September 2017

Italian Film Festival (5) - Barrie Pattison reviews STORIES OF LOVE THAT CANNOT BELONG TO THIS WORLD (Francesca Comencini)


Editor’s Note: Barrie Pattison is singlehandedly covering the waterfront of the local Italian Film Festival (and paying the inflated admission prices common to such events). You can find his earlier reports if you click on the following film titles After the WarI Can Quit Whenever I Want to: Masterclass, Let Yourself Go and Messy Christmas  

The Italian Film Festival's Amori che non sanno stare al mondo/Stories of Love That Cannot Belong to This World is intensely female, like writer-director Francesca Comencini’s 2009 Lo Spazio bianco, so much so that a bloke viewer is likely to feel uncomfortably like an eavesdropper. 

We kick off with thirties-ish Lucia Mascino waking up and immediately sending off needy texts to her ex-lover, who says he’d rather be put to the rack that resume their relationship. After chatting with her female neighbours, each with their own relationship dramas, needing a fifty Euro recharge for her smart ‘phone is a major crisis.

The film stays with the intensely irritating Mascino, pulling of the considerable feat of enlisting the audience to her point of view.

We see her as a disruptive speaker on a panel with white fleck bearded Professor Thomas Trabacchi. Her interruptions get her into his bed for a protracted relationship where they move in together. After make outs and inexplicable Black & white inserts, they reach the point where she wants to discuss feelings and he wants to rest up for the paper he has to complete the next day.  His lack of commitment (“I will not be prisoner of a dream I don’t share”) triggers their break up “Take a suitcase. It’s humiliating to be left by a man with a back pack.”

The separation is rough on Mascino despite the comforting of her friends and meetings in the university wash room where women compare experiences. However, Mascino finds consolation in an encounter with a glamorous pole dancer which manages to generate some striking naked lesbian love making.

Trabacchi meanwhile has paired with an appealing girl student who makes it clear she wants a ring on her finger. Trabacchi pictures Mascino criticing his conduct and burns her jacket that his betrothed has found in their old retreat and which she uses to keep warm.

News of the marriage gets back to Mascino who faints but rallies.

The former lovers later have a brief meeting and discuss the direction of their lives. We are given the impression that Mascino has the firmer grip on coming realities.


Some academic background, discussions of female orgasm and lots of skin pore close close-ups in wide screen are part of the film’s intense scrutiny. This one takes a lot of concentration. It’s not for everyone but I would imagine it will enthuse an audience that will identify with its female protagonist.

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