Malena follows in the steps of the legendary Italian filmmakers. Federico Fellini’s films were the biggest influence on Malena as the prepubescent masturbation in the film demonstrates. I couldn’t help but think Amarcord, 8 ½, and I vitelloni had an influence on Malena. I had a young Sicilian American friend growing up and I would be lying if I didn’t say Renato reminded me of him. Italian coming of age films, despite their perversity, are heartwarming to say the least.
The beautiful Monica Bellucci is amazing as Malena. Despite her lack of dialogue in the film, Malena carries the film with her beauty. Monica Bellucci makes Marilyn Monroe look like a cheap dollar store blonde by comparison. Mrs. Bellucci has deadly and bare curves in the film that catches any living male's fancy. Little Renato is quite mature and wise for his age.
Malena is set during World War II and despite the chaotic time period, the film is for the most part a happy experience. One scene had me angered when a group of aged Sicilian women are finally able to takeout their inferiority regarding their aged looks out on the young Malena. Malena is tragically beat and has her hair cutoff by the overweight wop women. The only thing these spiteful women are good for is making calzones.
A brief Nazi orgy scene in Malena reminded of the great Italian erotic and exploitation films of yesteryear. Malena is truly a trip down Italian cinema memory lane which is something I can always appreciate. This is a film for any male that has a beating heart and love for film. Although Renato never “hooks up” with Malena, he is happy helping her in the end. What a splendid film indeed.