To say that the lovely and talented Valeria Golino has been underused in Hollywood is an understatement. She kissed Pee-wee Herman (Big Top Pee-wee), valiantly struggled to humanize Tom Cruise (Rain Man) and gamely joked around with Charlie Sheen (Hot Shots!). Her profile started to diminish in the early 1990s to the point where it seemed that she had been resurrected when she starred in Respiro in 2002. Emanuele Crialese's Italian-language family drama effectively used gorgeous scenery, comedy and claustrophobia to illustrate a country town's view of mental illness. Set entirely on a small island where the residents know each other far too well, Respiro featured Golino in an exceptional performance as a wife and mother who rejects the traditional roles expected of her. The film may have brought her back to wider international attention, but she has been steadily working in Europe since before she came to Hollywood.

Her latest project, Black Sun, has just been released in Italy. Helmed by veteran Polish director Krzysztof Zanussi, notes that the film is an adaptation of a play by Rocco Familiari based on a true story in which a happily-married couple is torn apart when the young husband (Lorenzo Balducci) is killed. When the murderer's identity is revealed, the wife (Golino) must decide whether to avenge her husband's death or forgive the killer. It sounds like a meaty role for Golino to sink her teeth into. And director Zanussi knows how to sell his film. The press notes quote him as saying: "Agata and Manfredi are very beautiful, very much in love and ... very naked. During the rehearsals ... I explained to [Valeria Golino and Lorenzo Balducci] my personal understanding of the concept of 'innocence.' [They] only discovered they were required to act in the nude on the first day of shooting." If reactions are positive, expect to see Black Sun on the festival circuit.
categories Cinematical