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SHELTER
2007


March 8, 2008
San Jose Cinquest Film Festival 18
France / Italy
Italian
98 Minutes
Drama
Marco S. Puccioni

Anna and Mara, two Italian women, coming back from holiday from Morocco, find that along with their bags, their hotel has packed a teenage stowaway in their SUV. Do they turn him in or call the police? Anna is the more tender-hearted of the two and gives him train fare to visit his uncle in Rome. Mara, whose had a much tougher life, doesn't trust Anis from the minute she sees him. Anna's family runs a clothing factory and department store, Mara works in the store and has become Anna's lover. This sits well with neither Anna's mother, nor Anis in whose country women do not love other women openly. Anis' uncle has moved on and finds his way back to the small town where the women share a nice home. They become an uneasy three person family. Anis gets a job in the warehouse of the store and Anna brings Mara to family events more often. Anis speaks to each woman, in his broken Italian, about the need for a husband and children. He can't figure out how the two women could be happy without a man. As a red-blooded teenager, he also can't rectify his feelings of both disgust and sexual fantasy due to living with two attractive lesbians. This living situation can't last, but who will mess up first?

HENRY & JUNE's Maria de Medeiros plays Anna, smart and seemingly fragile, but confident in what she wants and needs. Antonia Liskova is Mara, who is much butchier than Anna, has been married in the past, has a dying father, and is much less sure of herself. They are both excellent. The boy is played by a kid named Mounir Ouadi, and this is his only film credit, apparently.

This film isn't perfect--the ending is insufficiently left up in the air, but you'll see a part of Italy not normally depicted in film.

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