Dormant Beauty (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

December 14, 2014 by  


“Dormant Beauty” is another thought-provoking and wonderful film from the great Marco Bellochio.  Featuring strong performances from its cast, this bold film is recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2014 Kino Lorber. All rights reserved.

DVD TITLE: Dormant Beauty (Bella addormentata)


DURATION: 120 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Color, 2:35:1 aspect ratio, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound with English Subtitles

COMPANY: Cinecita/Kino Lorber


RELEASE DATE: October 28, 2014

Directed by Marco Bellocchio

Story by Marco Bellocchio

Screenplay by Marco Bellocchio, Veronica Raimo, Stefano Rulli

Producer: Marco Chimenz, Giovanni Stabilini, Riccardo Tozzi

Co-Producer: Fabio Conversi

Cinematography by Daniele Cipri

Music by Carlo Crivelli

Edited by Francesa Calvelli

Production Design by Marco Dentici

Art Direction by Briseide Siciliano

Set Decoration by Laura Casalini

Costume Design by Sergio Ballo


Tom Servillo as Uliano Beffardi

Isabelle Huppert as Divina Madre

Alba Rohrwacher as Maria

Michele Riondino as Roberto

Maya Sansa as Rossa

Pier Giorgio Bellocchio as Dr. Pallido

Gianmarco Tognazzi as Marito della Divina Madre

Brenno Placido as Federico

Fabrizio Falco as Pipino

Gigio Morra as Il Persuasore

Federica Fracassi as Madre

Carlotta Cimador as Rosa

The issue of assisted suicide made national headlines in Italy when the decision was made to end the life of Eluana Englaro, after she spent seventeen years in a vegetative state.

In Dormant Beauty, directed by the great Marco Bellocchio (Vincere), this real-life drama will affect the lives of four characters struggling with their own beliefs. A senator (Toni Servillo), forced to vote for a law with which he profoundly disagrees, is torn between his conscience and his loyalty towards the leaders of his party. His daughter (Alba Rohrwacher), a right-to- life activist, falls in love with an advocate (Michele Riondino) for assisted suicide. A famous actress (Isabelle Huppert) turns towards faith and miracle cures in the hope of bringing her daughter out of an irreversible coma, thus neglecting her son who longs for his mother’s love. And the beautiful Rossa (Maya Sansa), lost in despair and determined to die, is saved by the young doctor Pallido (Pier Giorgio Bellocchio) and reawakens to life. These converging stories profoundly wrestle with the how to find meaning in life in the face of death.

From Marco Bellocchio, director of “Vincere”, “Good Morning, Night” and “My Mother’s Smile” comes his latest film “Dormant Beauty” (Bella Addormentata).

A film that revolves around people debating assisted suicide during the time that the true story of Eluana Englaro, an Italian woman who was in a vegetative state after a car accident in 1992 captivated media.

The story was all over media as Eluana told her father Beppo, that she did not want to be kept alive (as a friend she had was in a coma), the medical staff kept feeding Elluana against her parent’s wishes for 17 years.  And the authorities refused her request until 2009, when the decision was reversed.

The decision was heavily debated in the courts, even amongst politicians who also debated on the treatment of Eluana.

And the film would use Eluana’s story as a background to showcase characters who are affected.

The film would star Tony Servillo (“The Great Beauty”, “The Consequences of Love”, “Il Divo”), Isabelle Huppert (“Amour”, “The Piano Teacher”, “I Heart Huckabees”), Alba Rohrwacher (“I Am Love”, “The Man Who Will Come”, “Come Undone”), Michelle Riondino (“Fortapasc”, “Ten Winters”, “The Past is a Foreign Land”), Maya Sansa (“Good Morning, Night”, “The Man Who Will Come”, “The Best of Youth”) and Pier Giorgio Bellocchio (“Vincere”, “Good Morning, night”, “The Nanny”).

And the film was released on DVD courtesy of Kino Lorber.

“Dormant Beauty” revolves around several key characters.

Uliano Beffardi (portrayed by Toni Servillo) is a politician who is called to vote if Eluana Englaro should or shouldn’t receive treatment.  The politicians he works with are adamant he against euthanasia and stop Eluana Englaro form being taken off life support.

Meanwhile, his daughter Maria (portrayed by Alba Rohrwacher) is an activist who is a right-t0-life activist, especially since she and her father had to make difficult decisions in the past as her mother was kept alive by machines.  But Maria falls for an activist named Roberto (portrayed by Michele Riondino) and wants to get closer to him.

Divina Madre (portrayed by Isabelle Huppert) is a famous actress who has stepped away from the limelight to divert all her time to her daughter who is in a irreversible coma.  So she has turned to religion and has dedicated herself to it.   But she has not been spending time with her family and for her younger son, its taking its toll on him as he wants to further his acting career with his mother’s help, but her mother has no time for him, as she is spending her time with her comatose daughter.

Rossa (portrayed by Maya Sansa) is a thief but also a woman who doesn’t feel she should live.  She tries to steal money from Dr. Pallido (portrayed by Pier Giorgio Bellochio) and when he sees her again at the hospital, she tries to slice her wrists because she wants to die.  But Dr. Pallido will do all he can to prevent her from killing herself.


“Dormant Beauty” is presented in 2:35:1 aspect ratio. While the film received a Blu-ray release in Europe, unfortunately for now, it will only be released on DVD in the U.S.

While outdoor scenes look good as one could expect on DVD, especially during the outdoor sequences.  As for the soundtrack, the Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is clear and understandable and the English subtitles are easy to read.


“Dormant Beauty” comes with a stills gallery.

“Dormant Beauty” is another bold film for filmmaker Marco Bellocchio.

A filmmaker who likes to take on controversial subjects, such as his 2002 film “My Mother’s Smile” which took on religion and a son who was against his mother’s beatification; his 2003 film “Good Morning, Night” about a Red Brigade member’s perspective of the kidnapping of Italian politician Aldo Moro who was killed by the Red Brigades after 55 days in captivity.  While his 2009 film “Vincere” was about Mussolini’s secret lover Ida Dalser and their son Albino.

Not afraid to challenge the status quo, Bellocchio created a film based on a hot topic of Italian culture that had been debated for many years and that is the subject of assisted suicide.

As assisted suicide was hotly debated in Italy, moreso in the media as politicians entered the fray.

But what Bellocchio does for “Dormant Beauty” was not focus on assisted suicide but showcase various characters and their views on life.

In the film, politician Uliano Beffardi must vote along with his party or to vote for what he truly believes, or simply leave the job altogether.  He knows his daughter Maria is a right-to-life activist but for some reason, he also believes in one’s right to die, if the individual or their family wanted their loved one off of life support.  So both have differing opinions, we start to learn why UIliano and his daughter are affected by Eluana Englaro’s story.

For Divina Madre, her own daughter is comatose but she looks to divine intervention in hopes that her daughter would be able to escape her coma and she looks towards Eluana Englaro’s storyline closely in hopes that she is kept on life support because Eluana may come back out of her comatose and possibly, her own daughter will be the same.  But of course, the dedication of a mother to her comatose child has left her away from being a wife and mother and both her husband and her son are affected.

For Rossa, her storyline is a woman who possibly been homeless, hardcore drug user who has done all she can to get her fix.  But sinking down to her lowest of lows, she wants to end her life and feels she has every right to, but Dr. Pallido wants to ensure that Rossa does have every chance at life and perhaps he can help her value her own life.  If that is possible.

“Dormant Beauty” features a strong storyline with a wonderful acting performance by its cast who play characters that are near their breaking point and not sure what will happen with their life or the lives of their loved ones.

As for the DVD release, while I wished Kino Lorber would have released this film on Blu-ray (for the better PQ and AQ) in the USA but for now, the film is presented on DVD and the DVD picture quality is good and its audio is clear while English subtitles are easy to read.  There are no major special features on the DVD except a stills gallery.

Overall, “Dormant Beauty” is another thought-provoking and wonderful film from the great Marco Bellochio.  Featuring strong performances from its cast, this bold film is recommended!



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