Wednesday, March 11, 2015


By D.E.Levine

The cinematography by Raphael O'Byrne is fabulous and the score which incorporates Claudio Monteverdi, an early baroque master soars, but La Sapienza may not be to every viewer's taste.

The basic story revolves around a successful architect, Alexandre Schmidt (Fabrizio Rongione) and his wife Alienor (Cristelle Prot Landmann), a social psychologist, who fed up with city commissioners reneging on contractural  promises, decide to take a break and finish an earlier literary project of a study of seventeenth century architect Francesco Borromini, a celebrated baroque master of church and palaces that emphasized upwards movement within geometric enclosure.

Alexandre and Alienor drive to Borromini's birthplace in Tocino and then on to Stressa.  Once in Stressa they notice Lavinia (Arianna Nostro) and Goffredo (Ludovico Succio) in the park and when Lavinia has a fainting spell they offer to take the two home.  Lavinia has been ill since her father's death years before and now studies at home and worries about her older brother's impending departure to study architecture in Venice.

Alexandre and Goffredo go off to Rome to study the architecture and do research while Alienor decides to remain behind with Lavinia.  Once in Rome, the camera lovingly studies the various architectual delights while the older architect gives somewhat of a series of lectures in answer to the young student's questions.

From the beginning, Green's method of directing his actors is to have them look at and talk to the camera rather than looking at each other during conversations.  This gives them the appearance of being stilted and alienated in their relationship.  And, that is exactly the case.  Green lets us see the suffering relationship through the acting techniques he uses.

In the end, the rather strange relationship that develops between the older couple and the younger siblings breathes new life into the long-suffering marriage.