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ĎI Donít Want to Talk About Ití

By Hal Hinson
Washington Post Staff Writer
October 21, 1994


Maria Luisa Bemberg
Luisina Brando;
Marcello Mastroianni
Not rated

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Charlotte, the heroine of Argentine director Maria Luisa Bemberg's frail "I Don't Want to Talk About It," is a woman of many accomplishments. She is classically educated and knowledgeable in the arts and plays the piano. Only one drawback prohibits her from taking her rightful place in society -- she is a dwarf.

From the moment Charlotte was born, her mother, Leonor (Luisina Brando), has made it her mission to keep Charlotte unaware of her condition, even going so far as burning copies of books such as "Snow White" and "Tom Thumb." Leonor's approach is one of willful disregard: If she doesn't acknowledge that Charlotte is different, perhaps she won't be.

For the most part, her efforts bear fruit. Her daughter grows up into a dazzling young woman, and the bond between the two women is deep and moving. The difficulties begin, however, when Ludovico (Marcello Mastroianni), the most desirable man in the village, discovers that he has fallen in love with Charlotte. At first he is unable to face his feelings, and he goes immediately to a whorehouse. Later, when he can't shake off his affection, he embarks on a series of adventures in an effort to forget her.

Bemberg ("Camila") has billed "I Don't Want to Talk About It" as a fairy tale, but actually it seems much more straightforward than that. Like Leonor, Bemberg is so sensitive toward the Charlotte character that a sort of transformation actually occurs and we begin to overlook her stature. Therefore, Ludovico's love for Charlotte doesn't seem the least bit strange.

Unfortunately, the details of this unusual love story turn out to be rather uninteresting. Frankly, the idea, as Bemberg presents it, seems thin. Also, neither Bemberg nor the actors seem able to take the idea to its logical conclusion, or to express on screen the passion they feel for one another. Mastroianni is marvelous when he comes to claim Charlotte. But in the end, "I Don't Want to Talk About It" is too timid for its own good.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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