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The Call (La llamada)

What do you do when you’re stuck in a rut? Stefano Pasetto’s finely balanced tale of two women from different generations and very different sensibilities provides a surprising answer. Frustrated in each of their relationships, the two women get together and leave town, boldly striking out on their own and forming an indelible bond despite their many differences. This is only the beginning of a wonderfully liberating experience that defies narrative expectations.

Lea (Francesca Inaudi) is the young, free spirit. Working as a laborer in a food-processing factory, she knows that she is cut out for better things. She’s happy living with her tattoo-artist boyfriend, but is eager for new experiences. Lucia (Sandra Ceccarelli), on the other hand, has diametrically opposing values and a very different temperament. She is a middle-aged airline stewardess, married to an allergist, and trying to have a baby. Everything about her is uptight, so her psychiatrist tells her to get out and enjoy life. When she advertises to teach piano lessons, Lea blows into her life. The two are polar opposites: Lea walks around barefoot, while Lucia can’t stand being touched. But all this is about to change. When Lea suddenly gets a job in Patagonia, Lucia is stunned. The person who has brought a spark into her life so unexpectedly is about to leave without a hint of regret.

“The Call” follows this blooming and unlikely relationship. As the two women grow closer and closer, they must also deal with the men they have left behind. Free, independent and strikingly selfish, the older Lucia must learn how to grapple with Lea’s refusal to be pinned down. Both Lea and Lucia are beautifully counter-balanced throughout, and Pasetto proves wonderfully adept at illustrating their unique dynamic. “The Call” displays a mature cinematic sensitivity and unusual emotional acuity. [Synopsis by Piers Handling/Toronto International Film Festival]

The Human Factor

Milan. Behind the windows of the city’s buildings are private rooms and private lives. And a man, Inspector Monaco, weary of his job since his wife died three years ago. According to the rules for survival that he has set himself, he wants no further contact with other people or with the stench of violence; he just wants to do paperwork. This night, however, sees the arrival at police headquarters not just of the Ullrich murder case, but also of Monaco’s daughter Linda, arrested for possession of a firearm. Dawn casts light on a new and grim reality, and the Inspector must decide how to face it: as policeman or father. Searching for himself, he will find Linda again, as well as a truth which is not what it seemed.