My rating: 8
IMDB rating: 6.4
I have no idea why this film received such bad reviews. There are several things that I liked about this film, the first is the fact that Fioravante never exploits the feminine body, he actually is a real fighter for the feminist cause. He views the feminine body with respect and passion. At one point he even says to Avigal that men had never wanted women to read, underlining a fundamental issue of feminism which is the empowerment of women through knowledge.
Another point that this film raises is the intricate, restrictive and conservative views and practices of the religious. A woman’s place within religion is also explored as Avigail is portrayed as the faithful, pious Jewish widow. When Fioravante touches her for the first time, she is emotional not because she is being touched by someone other than her husband, but because she had not felt intimate since before her marriage (which also produces 6 children!).
I would therefore argue that there is a juxtapositioning of views of lust by women, especially in the religious sector. The two high society women use lust and the sexual, devoid of religious bondage, as a means of empowerment in a society where they are ruled by the views and wishes of their wealthy husbands. On the Jewish, religious, side Avigal also uses lust and the sexual as a means of empowerment, emancipation from herself and most importantly the concious step away from religious oppression.
The film explores al these nuances most interestingly as it is combines with Woody Allen’s off-beat humour, characteristic hand gestures and quirky style. Turturro does a great job of acting/directing/writing and portrays the brooding, sensitive and satisfying Fioravante. I do not know what it is about Vanessa Paradis, but she is just stunningly beautiful.
I think that it is just important to enjoy this film for what it is; a comedy that delves a bit deeper and sees a bit clearer.
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