Thursday, November 30, 2006


Don't ask about Don't Tell

By Edward Copeland
As I mentioned yesterday, I'd recently watched Don't Tell, Italy's Oscar-nominated submission last year for foreign language film, meaning the only one of the five nominees I haven't seen yet is France's Joyeux Noel. Of the four I've seen though, Don't Tell definitely ranks fourth.

This completely unfocused drama would seem to focus on adults dealing with sexual abuse by their father when they were young, but there also are digressive story strands such as a blind lesbian, a middle-age woman whose husband leaves her for a younger woman and the filming of a movie, not to mention surprise pregnancies and cheating lovers.

It's not that all this plot is confusing, it's just not that interesting, despite an acceptable lead performance by Giovanna Mezzogiorno as Sabina, the struggling young actress who recovers memories of her past abuse, and Angela Finocchiaro as her director who faces life alone when her husband splits.

To me, the most interesting question raised by Don't Tell is how many Europeans make their livings dubbing films and television shows, as Sabina does here in the opening scene. It seems as if I've seen a helluva lot of European films over the years that contain scenes and characters in a dubbing room (How many of those has Pedro Almodóvar produced alone?).

In Don't Tell, Sabina points out the metaphor late in the film so that you can't miss it that perhaps everyone has two voices, just like the characters she dubs. Unfortunately, Don't Tell has too many voices and none of them are interesting enough to hold your interest.

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I agree with your take on this film. I have nothing against soap opera as long as it's geared to some kind of dramatic purpose, but Don't Tell piles on the suds without having much of anything to say.
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