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Facing Windows

4.4 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A young working-class wife and mother unlocks a freedom within her heart that she never expected. Don't miss this critically-acclaimed, award-winning romance.


The beautiful and wonderfully named Giovanna Mezzogiorno joins the list of soulful Italian actresses with Facing Windows, a pleasant cinematic fancy. Her character is a married Mom in an ordinary apartment, whose life is affected by two things: her fascination with the handsome man who lives across the courtyard, and the sudden arrival in her home of an elderly amnesiac (played by the late Massimo Girotti)--a well-dressed man found walking on the street, dazed and lost. Turkish-born director Ferzan Ozpetek (Steam: The Turkish Bath) makes this simultaneously a slice of life and a vaguely fantastical situation. It probably all works out a little too neatly, but the unhurried pace and deep sympathy Ozpetek displays toward his main characters is refreshing. And when in doubt, he points the camera at the face of La Mezzogiorno, which solves all problems. --Robert Horton

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Massimo Girotti, Raoul Bova, Filippo Nigro, Serra Yilmaz
  • Directors: Ferzan Ozpetek
  • Writers: Ferzan Ozpetek, Gianni Romoli
  • Producers: Gianni Romoli, Tilde Corsi
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: November 2, 2004
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002XNSYU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,655 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Facing Windows" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 18, 2004
Format: DVD
"Facing Windows" is without a doubt the most beautiful film of last year... that nobody got to see. Despite winning the Italian Best Film Award in 2003, the movie went virtually unseen in the US. But it's a haunting, lush tale that, once seen, is virtually impossible to forget.

Kindhearted and scatterbrained Filippo (Filippo Nigro) encounters a befuddled old man in the streets, and takes him home to be cared for by his young wife Giovanna (Giovanna Mezzogiorno). It's the last thing Giovanna needs -- aside from two young children, she has a rotten job and a fraying marriage that has lost its spark. She also is falling in love with the handsome young man (Raoul Bova) in the window facing hers.

But the old man, Simone (Massimo Girotti), has problems of his own, including flashbacks to a violent murder in 1943. He and Giovanna start to become friends, as he teaches her how to bake pastry like a true chef. The old man's memories start to unfold in a tragic story during the Holocaust, giving guidance to what Giovanna wishes to do with her life.

"Facing Windows" is a heavy movie -- it tackles marital problems, responsibility, Alzheimer's disease, homophobia, infidelity the Holocaust, and having your passions as the center of your life. But at its heart, it's about a woman waking up from a half-life, and reshaping things to the way they should be. Not to mention that the mountains of pastry will make viewers drool.

Ferzan Ozpetek draws viewers in as the movie becomes ever more mysterious and intriguing -- it starts off mundanely, with a flashback and a vision of a couple bickering. But the dramatic intensity begins to build, Ozpetek weaves a spiderweb of tension around the four people -- the old man, and the love triangle.
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"Facing Windows" (La Finestra Di Fronte) is about the mis-connections, the social and personal things that keep us apart, keep us from loving how and whom we really want and doing what we really want to do.

Giovanna (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) is living a life that she doesn't want: she loves her children and her job pays well but her husband Filippo is irresponsible; jumping from one job to the next: he's the proverbial child-man never accepting responsibility for his actions.

One night when Giovanna and Filippo are out for the evening they come upon an old man, obviously not a bum, who is disoriented and speaking of things long gone by. Over Giovanna's objections, Filippo takes the man Davide (Massimo Girotti) home with them. However grudgingly she does, Giovanna comes to realize, through the course of the film, that it is fate and good luck really that has brought she and Davide together. And more to the point it is Davide who snaps Giovanna out of her self-imposed ennui by telling her: "Your problem is that you've turned your passion (making pastry) into a hobby when it should have been the foremost thing in your life."

"Facing Windows" operates on several levels: as a detective story, as a love story and as a story of family and of marriage. But more importantly, it is about Giovanna waking up and realizing her potential and her dreams of fulfilling it; things like many of us, she has squandered and suppressed for a thousand "good" reasons.
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Windows have often have a symbolic value that some connect with looking towards the future, curiosity, opportunities, hope, and much more. This means that the title Facing Windows could suggest a number of different allegorical interpretations, which is for the audience's own analysis. Nonetheless, the title also proposes that a person who is looking through the window must take initiative by facing the window, or a symbolic interpretation would be futile. The Italian film Facing Window presents a visual experience that plays with the notion of dreaming and taking the initiative when opportunity presents itself.

On the way home, Giovanna (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) and her husband Filippo (Filippo Nigro) come across an old disoriented man who wants to give Filippo some money. Sympathetically Giovanna expresses that the man should put the money away and she tells her husband to leave the man alone. Despite Giovanna's plead to leave the man alone Filippo insists on helping the man, as they bring him to their home. Under Giovanna's protest, her husband lets the man stay at their home overnight without consideration of the children at home. The following day Filippo promises to bring the old man, who they learn goes by the name Simone, to the police station, but to Giovanna's irritation, the old man is still at home when she returns from work. However, there is the second scene in the film while the initial scene will make more sense after the end credits.

During the stay, Simone sits and observes the family, as if he is trying to recognize something. On one occasion, he watches Giovanna bake some pastries while giving her some good pointers.
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I purchased this because I loved Giovanna Mezzogiorno in The Last Kiss. She totally nailed that role and made me forget that she was an actress. That's how good she was.

I'm not loving her performance here, but putting that aside, the overall movie wasn't too bad. I like how baking was used as a metaphor to her outlook in life. The film may seem a bit random and disoriented at first, but everything is related to one another. The letter in the amnesiac man's pocket, for example, is describing more than the relationship between him and his lover. It also describes Giovanna's relationship with Lorenzo.

I think things could have worked out better for Giovanna, though, if she had took Emine's advice about sleeping with Lorenzo. I think the fact that she didn't sleep with him made her continue to live in the fantastical, idealistic image of having an "exciting" extramarital affair. I feel sorry for her husband. As attractive as Lorenzo is, I'd be asking myself why a financially secure, good-looking man is still single. Maybe because he spends his time spying on neighboring married women.
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