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Miele (Honey) by Valeria Golino

November 6, 2013

miele

Miele (Jasmine Trinca) is a full of energy and tension young woman whose life is full of contradictions: courage, deception, compassion and lies they are all part of the package she delivers to family, friends, lovers and employers. When we meet her, Miele – a student of medicine in the eyes of family, friends and lovers – is in her third year of work for a clandestine organization providing assisted suicide – which is illegal in Italy – to moneyed persons suffering from an incurable disease or condition. We don’t know why she does it and maybe Miele herself ignores it, because mercy killing is certainly a central theme in Miele the film, but Miele the character is much more complicated than that, she is restless and constantly looking for a direction (the scenes at the railway station where she looks at the departures and arrivals board, she actually travels a lot for her job, but their metaphoric sense is quite obvious when you look at the movie context). The turning point of Miele’s story comes when she meets Grimaldi (Carlo Cecchi) a retired engineer who wants to pay for her services though he is not terminally ill, Grimaldi is just bored with contemporary life and society – its idiocy and ugliness; Miele at first reacts angrily, she is a girl on a humanitarian mission and feels betrayed by Grimaldi’s request, but slowly she and her unwanted customer will discover they have much in common, so they will be linked by an unusual friendship that in the end will lead to an unexpected finale.

trinca

This is an outstanding directorial debut from Valeria Golino, the subject of Miele is one of the kind where experienced filmmakers fail to deliver for the easiness to slip into making a statement with an in your face attitude, but this is not the case of Golino who is very careful in the scenes involving assisted suicide avoiding any exploitation of pain and she is also very brilliant exposing the consequences of those scenes with a light and at the same time startling touch (the chance meeting at the airport between Miele and the sister of one of her customers). Golino uses mirrors, reflections and uneasy to read shots (in a way the opening shot sets the mood for the entire film) to heighten and mark the period of confusion Miele is living, Golino’s artistry is never self-indulgent, her directorial touch is always functional to the cinematic development. Golino has also been successful casting Jasmine Trinca, a young actress who has already left her mark in relevant films – The Son’s Room by Moretti and The Best of Youth by Giordana – Trinca finds with Miele her first major role and considering the brilliant outcome I can’t wait to see her again at work soon.

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