Cinematic Gems: Theme from ‘Malena’ (2000)

What do you get when you bring together two of Italy’s finest music and film artists working in long-term collaboration? You get masterpiece after masterpiece of cinematic magic, that’s what.

For 28 years, the acclaimed film director Guiseppe Tornatore (b. 1956) worked with legendary composer Ennio Morricone (1928-2020) for thirteen of Tornatore’s feature films, among them Cinema Paradiso (1988), Malena (2000), and The Corresponence (2016).

Many of Tornatore’s films are set-in small-town Sicily where he was born. The story in Malena (2000), for example, takes place in Sicily. The year is 1941, when World War II was in full swing. But amid the bleakness of destruction, human urges for romance, and fantasy, love and longing are never diminished, and the film plays to this theme with panache. Central to the movie’s enduring attraction are the performances of the lead starts: Guiseppe Sulfaro, who plays a Renato, a 13-year old boy falling madly in love with a sensual woman named Malena (played by Monica Bellucci). Renato’s young age doesn’t permit him to express his love, which therefore remains forever a fantasy. Many years later, an aged Renato reflects that he has known many women, but that the only woman he can’t forget is Malena.

Snippets of Tornatore’s masterpiece, beautifully shot in Sicily, set to the wistful music of maestro Ennio Morricone. 

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