EUFF 2017 Review: “Tenerezza: Holding Hands” (2017) ★★★★

Often, when we walk alone in the streets – upset, disappointed, and unwilling to do anything rational, we never think about what we’ve left behind, or how we can fix that vulnerable situation we’ve found ourselves in. The thing is, what matters is one’s home – whether it is cold or warm. But do we allow that calming thought into our minds in the moments when the pain of the past is way stronger than the possibility of calm future?

The film “Tenerezza: Holding Hands”, based on the novel by Lorenzo Marone, follows Lorenzo – an old man who is a retired lawyer. He has two grown-up children, yet he is not even sure he loves them. The harsh experiences in life have brought him to a state where he distances himself from anything that might remotely remind him of tenderness and loving relationship in a family. Everything changes when Lorenzo meets Michela, her two little children, and husband Fabio. Feelings, that he had forbidden his heart to experience, now come to life – he learns anew how to love and care. And then, a tragedy happens that takes away from him one last chance to hang onto life.

I wouldn’t want to reveal more of the story, even if it would surely intrigue you to want to see it. I’d hate to ruin that subtle connection that a first-time viewer experiences when watching the film. Certain details should never be told. “Tenerezza: Holding Hands” is one of those movies that are best enjoyed when you know almost nothing about the storyline. It’s an honest and innocent story that introduces us to Lorenzo’s daughter Elena (portrayed by great Giovanna Mezzogiorno) who is an interpreter helping the Arab immigrants to express themselves at the hearings.

Her relationship with her father is not simple. You’ll know that from the very beginning of the story. Yet, you’ll have to watch until the very end to find out the reason behind those complicated relationships. Michela, portrayed by the most talented Italian actress of modern history – Micaela Ramazzotti, takes care of her two kids. Her husband Fabio, at times, behaves like her third kid. Their newly build a friendship with Lorenzo is sweet and charming. The old man refuses to admit he loves any of his relatives – his deceased wife or even his children. But, as we watch him and Michela’s family, we see them grow and change, we start sympathizing them. And that is the power of this Italian drama,  which is gently told by Gianni Amelio – a talented filmmaker from Italy, whose interpretation of the story is mind-blowing.

In conclusion, Elena cites lines by an Arab poet, which say: “The happiness is not a goal to be reached, but a home to return to. That is not ahead. It is behind us.” These words are more than enough to depict this wonderful, profound, and deep film. So, if you need a film to warm your heart during cold winter days, I highly recommend this one – it’s better than any worm tea or hot chocolate.


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