Like the Wind (2013) – Marco S. Puccioni

Having its Canadian Premiere screening this evening at the Italian Contemporary Film Festival, is this drama featuring a strong performance by Valeria Golino as Armida Misere, and of Italy’s first female prison governors.

Told through a series of flashbacks, the film starts with a tragedy, and shows how it impacts the rest of Misere’s life, all while working through a series of prisons, dealing with threats to her life, and the ever-present threat of the mafia in modern-day Italy.

I haven’t seen a lot of Golino’s work, but she turns in a nuanced performance in this film as Armida tries to be divide her world between being a professional in one of the toughest realms, and being human.

Spurred on by the murder of her lover Umberto Mormile (Filippo Timi), she works to find those responsible, saying yes to any prison that will have her as a governor. Moving from location to location, she ekes out an existence that is both lonely and fulfilling. There are villains on both sides of the bars in some prisons, and Armida does her best to make sure that while treated humanely, that prisoners are there to serve out their terms, their are there to work off their punishment.

She never loses sight of her ultimate goal, however, making sure Mormile’s killers are brought to justice.

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Puccioni has crafted a truly engaging film, the opening sequence was wonderfully done, you could feel the tension building towards something, and then when it happens, it still rocks you.

Featuring stunning locations, and a dramatic tale based on actual events, this one is sure to hold the attention, and happily, doesn’t play out like North American films, there is a European rhythm to it that makes it stand out from its Western counterparts, and tells its story in its own way, and its own time.

I was happily pleased with this one.

The editing, the pacing, Golino’s performance, all of it ties in to make a strong film about commitment, love, and duty. The things Armida goes through in her career are trying, some of them are downright cold and brutal, and one has to wonder about the minds behind such terrible things, they certainly aren’t human as I would define them.

In the end, what drives the film is Valeria Golino, and the film rests ably on her shoulders.

For those of you not in Toronto, keep your eyes open, this one is riding the festival circuit and is well worth your time. If you do live in Toronto,  you can check it out this evening as Like the Wind screens as part of the Italian Contemporary Film Festival this evening at Bloor Hot Docs, with a start time of 9:30, get your tickets!

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