Like 1993's surprise hit LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE, this magical realist fable transports the viewer into a world where nothing is completely as it seems. Set in an imaginary Latin American town of the 1930s, I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT is a lulling, hypnotic reverie about the inexplicable nature and strange consequences of desire. Charlotte (Alejandra...read more
Like 1993's surprise hit LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE, this magical realist fable transports the viewer into a world where nothing is completely as it seems. Set in an imaginary Latin American town of the 1930s, I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT is a lulling, hypnotic reverie about the
inexplicable nature and strange consequences of desire.
Charlotte (Alejandra Podesta) is a dwarf--a reality which her domineering mother, Leonor (Luisina Brando), resolutely refuses to acknowledge in any way. In her ceaseless efforts to erase the facts, Leonor has made herself the tyrant of her village, destroying a neighbor's garden trolls, burning
books like "Snow White" and "Tom Thumb," and generally imposing her implacable will on her cowed neighbors. Charlotte lives in a dream world of her own, fancying herself a grand opera diva as she cavorts to a recording of Carmen. Leonor pushes her daughter into the spotlight as a pianist, over the
objections of the more conservative, competitive town ladies, who have progeny of their own to promote.
Enter Ludovico D'Andrea (Marcello Mastroianni), a dapper man of mystery, who soon has the whole town buzzing. He charms Leonor and helps her buy a beautiful white horse for Charlotte. One day, while spying on Charlotte as she rides the horse, Ludovico becomes smitten. In an attempt to fight off
this strange affection, he repairs to the local whorehouse, but finds that "normal" sexual pursuits have palled for him. He visits Leonor and, with great formality, asks her for permission to wed Charlotte. Leonor, who had expected him to propose to her, is at first taken aback, but finally
agrees. A lavish wedding takes place, and Ludovico settles down and eventually becomes mayor. But the independent, mysterious Charlotte has a destiny of her own to follow, and when the circus comes through town, she steals away and joins the itinerant performers.
Argentine director Maria Luisa Bemberg, who works with a light touch that would have been welcome in 1994's THE HOUSE OF THE SPIRITS, has made a film of delicate humor and singular beauty (it is magnificently photographed by Felix Monti). Charlotte's deformity is presented matter-of-factly, with
no sentiment or condescension whatsoever; pint-sized Podesta is a natural performer who imbues the character with admirable pluck, more than a touch of impudence and, despite her unprepossessing appearance, a kind of sensual mystery. Brando gives a powerful performance as the kind of nightmarishly
possessive mother who nevertheless commands sympathy. Mastroianni's role is appropriate to his indestructible, gallant humanity and he deftly carries off scene after scene that could have easily become grotesque or ludicrous. (Adult situations, sexual situations, nudity.)
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