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306 Ratings

Dormant Beauty

Bella addormentata

Directed by Marco Bellocchio
Italy, France, 2012
  • Italian
  • English


A drama set in different locations during the last six days of life of Eluana Englaro, a young woman who lived 17 years in a vegetative state, as a mosaic of characters comes into focus.

Our take

Italian maestro Marco Bellocchio has never achieved the same recognition as his contemporary Bertolucci, despite his classic debut Fists in the Pocket. But this cinematic firebrand is even better, and his recent work exudes the risky energy and stylish bravado of a politically committed Scorsese.

Dormant Beauty Directed by Marco Bellocchio
In Dormant Beauty… Bellocchio presents a Sonata of political machinations from down in the orchestra on up to the balcony. The theme is euthanasia and the way it effects doctors, protestors, politicians, the rich, the poor and the troublingly committed and the effect is like riding through parliament on a motorcycle. Religion, family, illness and unbreakable wills harmonize like a chorus as Bellocchio conducts one of his most surefooted pieces yet.
June 03, 2014
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By essentially excising Eluana from the bulk of the narrative, allowing her and Italian parliament’s reaction to the removal of the feeding tube to solely form the backbone of the film, Bellocchio is able to boundlessly study the vulnerability that open communication engenders.
February 20, 2013
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The film was compulsive; it was impossible not to get caught up in its energetic valences. I’m still haunted by just where Bellocchio chose to end each of the mini-stories caught up in the fervor of (real) events in the film—brooding, dark, complex and unresolved, yet with an image of hands removing shoes and a pair of feet pulled onto a bed, ending with a strange, moving possibility of hope.
September 14, 2012
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