Customer Reviews: Malena
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on March 3, 2004
Malena is rich and beautiful film, starring the very fine Monica Bellucci in the title role. It is essentially three films in one, it contains the story of a woman who lost her husband to war, the coming of age of a young boy and also how Facism and war affected the Italian people.
Alot of other reviewers have summed up the plot and made valid comments, so I will only speak of the horrid DVD presentation. Being a huge fan of both the film and Bellucci, I wanted the single best DVD version and I'm afraid to say that this one is far from it! Miramax claim to be an independant and artistly geared studio, yeah right, they have dramaticly censored MANY great scenes from this film. Anyone not as repressed as the suits down at Miramax HQ should look into purchasing the NTSC Korean 2-Disc release. It is the ONLY completely uncut (a few minutes short than the Italian DVD due to PAL to NTSC conversion) DVD with English subtitles. The Italian disc is uncut but doesn't contain English subtitles, so it would only be good for Italian Speakers. Believe me once you see just how much this DVD is missing (over 13 min shorter than Korean NTSC, 16 min shorter than Italian PAL) you will be glad you put in the extra effort to get a real Malena DVD.
PS to the reviewer who thought that the beating of Malena scene was unrealistic or over exagerated for the film's sake, read a histroy book some time! Women who "went with Germans" were beaten, had their heads shaved and sometimes even killed in towns all over Italy and France the second the town was liberated.
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on June 9, 2003
Malena is a fine film. Sadly, you will not be able to see this film in the U.S. as Mirimax/Disney Home Video has heavily censored it for DVD release in the U.S. Monica Bellucci is a beauty, but to fully appreciate her in Malena, you'll need an Italian import of this DVD and a region-free player.
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Note: Italian with English subtitles.

This is an incredibly sad and poignant film about the despicable treatment levied by an insensitive community on a World War II wife (Monica Bellucci) left alone to fend for herself while her husband is away serving in the Italian Army. It's rumored that he has died in battle but no one knows for sure, not even Malena. It soon becomes assumed by all that she is now a widow and available.

By far the most beautiful and sexually desirable woman in town, the entire community virtually comes to a standstill whenever Malena walks by. The men make little to no attempt to hide their lust as they undress her with their eyes, while the women of the community stare at her just as fiercely for being what they could never be.

Men of influence and wealth are ready and willing to take advantage of the situation. Under the pretense of kindness and generosity they offer their services all the while seeking only to satisfy their carnal desires with her feminine charms. Refusing their sexual advances only makes matters worse for no matter what the truth may be she is unfairly branded a whore and a husband stealer.

While she continues on with her daily routines she silently suffers through all the slander and abuse heaped on by the town. Only one young teenage boy seems to see the sad truth of the situation but he can only watch and quietly deal with his own lustful desires for Malena.

Just as Malena is about to reach her breaking point the German Army occupies the town. Having been rejected for so long by her community she turns to the enemy for acceptance and comfort. This of course only serves to fan the flames of hatred towards her. When the soldiers are finally forced to retreat a final confrontation between Malena and the townspeople is inevitable.

Monica Bellucci is stunning in the role of Malena. Her silent, long-suffering portrayal is heartbreaking. This is pure speculation on my part, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to discover she was picked for the part of Mary Magdalene in Mel Gibson's "The Passion" based on this performance.

Don't buy the - Region 1 - release which has been horribly truncated into 92 minutes. This 2 disc - All Region - "Director's Cut" - release from Korea is the one you want to purchase. It's 108 minutes in length, giving you an additional 16 minutes to enjoy the beautiful Monica Bellucci! "Viva Le Difference!"
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on August 20, 2001
Malena is truly a great film. It works on so many levels. I have a relative who doesn't usually like foreign films but had to admit this is a great one. Its funny, its sad and it has a message. The story of the beautiful Malena is one that is heart-breaking. Malena is a beautiful woman whose husband is fighting in World War II and is left alone in this town. She is subjected to constant rumours and harassment by the men and women in their village.
Renato is the young boy obsessed with her. He is also the only person who knows the truth about her and knows she doesn't do the things people say she does. Malena wasn't dating everyone, she was sewing for people into the night, carrying her husband's picture and dancing to their favorite music. The sad thing is that Malena has to become what everyone had labeled her once word got back that her husband was killed. Women refused to sell her food and she had to sleep with men to survive. There is a scene towards the end that really upset me. This movie shows how rotten both the men and the women were to her. Malena shows how dangerous lies and assumptions are to a person's standing in their community and their own self-respect.
Malena is a very funny movie at times. There are scenes with Renato that made me laugh out loud. However, its a film that goes deeper than many out there. I would have to say this has become one of my all-time favorites. A beautiful, thought-provoking film.
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on October 9, 2005
With deleted scenes put back in, this is a 5-star movie. However, this 'Import, Uncut' version is CENSORED in a way that ruins the overall movie. Large, black blotches are used to block out pelvic anatomy without clothing, which now seems typical censorship for all these (Korean?) imports. If you don't think intimate scenes should be covered over with 'black spot' editing, and you're an adult that can handle seeing a naked body - send a message. Don't waste your money.
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on May 19, 2006
Like another reveiewer, I purchased this after purchasing the U.S. Miramax version. I have to agree with most of the reveiwers that the uncut version is vastly superior in every way. Without the complete scenes in which Renato is seen slwoly falling completely for Malena, the film is merely a beautifully shot film, with a lovely actress and a great soundtrack. Uncut, it becomes an insightful look into the passions that drive us, both as young adolescents and adults, for better(Renato)or for worse (Malena). Lastly, I don't know what version the one reviewer had who commented about the pelvic region being blocked out. My copy had no such censoring.

This film uncut is magnificent!
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on November 15, 2010
If you've made your way to this rather obscure listing, there are several things you need to be aware of:

1) This review pertains *ONLY* to the "medusavideo" malena (Dvd) Italian Import (ASIN:B000YEDM98) version of Malena. Amazon has an unfortunate policy of transferring reviews from one edition to another, even when they are not at all relevant.

2) This MedusaVideo release is the real thing, with no cuts at all. Medusa was the film's original production company, and its original distributor. This is not an Asian knock-off, and it is not the hatchet job put out by Miramax/Disney which chopped out roughly 17 minutes from the film. Apparently most Asian versions claiming to be "uncut" in fact have brief shots omitted, due to local laws and taboos.

3) This DVD is a PAL Region 2. Some US players will play PAL encoding just as easily as the US standard NTSC encoding, but not all will. However, you will definitely need an all-region player to accept a Region 2 disc; otherwise your player will simply give you an error message, and won't even attempt to play the movie. The US standard is Region 1.

4) The soundtrack on this edition is in Italian only, with NO option for English. The movie does have subtitles, but again the subtitles are in Italian only, with NO option for English or any other language. So you will need to be able to make out either spoken or written Italian in order to follow the movie.

5) Medusa has released three different editions of Malena:
--a single disc of the movie alone;
--a two-disc package including the movie by itself, and a second disc filled with interesting extras or supplements, again in Italian only; and
--a three-disc package of these same two DVDs, plus an audio CD of Ennio Morricone's soundtrack, which is also available separately as Malena (ASIN:B00005AV1Z).
All three of these releases are priced differently, whether or not they are shown as such in this listing. If you order this original uncut MedusaVideo version from an Amazon Marketplace seller, be certain you understand which of these three editions is being offered, and at what price. You will need to contact the seller to verify this information before ordering.

6) You may notice an apparent discrepancy in the movie's runtime - IMDb gives the NTSC runtime as 109 minutes, whereas the PAL runtime on this disc is 105 minutes. Be assured that nothing has been cut; PAL simply runs imperceptibly faster than NTSC.

7) At the time of this writing, Amazon's listing contains a couple of confusing errors which may have been corrected by the time you see this review. The movie is actually Unrated (UR), for mature audiences only; and the director is, of course, Giuseppe Tornatore.

8) And Monica Bellucci has *never* been lovelier than here, as Malena.
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on October 4, 2005
For anyone interested in watching Monica Bellucci's "Malena", you should by this "Uncut Special Edition". As other reviewers have said, the version that is available in North America is one that has been censored by Miramax. I saw that version first and then bought this one. This version, imported from Korea, is the full film---the way it was meant to be seen. And it is ofcourse much much better.

They censored such truly beautiful scenes that once you see them, you wonder why in the world would Miramax cut them out of the film. I'll just give one example. In one scene, Malena is lying on a chair outside her house on the porch, relaxing in the sun and drying her wet hair. She is wearing a light summer dress and has her hair hanging behind the chair. Drops of water are falling on the ground. The young boy Renato hids behind a tree and looks at her. It is such a beautiful image of Malena that you just want to keep watching it. And apparently the Miramax censor board found this scene too erotic and removed it from the film. I won't tell you the other scenes, I don't want to ruin the movie. So watch the Uncut Edition, and you'll see what you're missing and what a great film this is.

The most striking thing about this movie is that the two central characters of the film, Malena and Renato, do not talk to each other in the whole film. They don't even have a brief conversation. There is only one line---the last line of the film that Renato directly says to Malena, but Malena's reply is a nod. She doesn't say anything in words. But still the whole story revolves around the two. It is truly remarkable that Tornatore, the director, was able to convey such a unique story, mostly through images and not words, showing the true magic of cinema.
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on October 13, 2001
I love Love stories (even if it's not that cool...) and this is an especially magical one.
The movie tells the platonic love between 12 years old Renato that falls for beautiful Malena - the town most attractive woman. The one who men admire and women envy and hate. It is told from his point of view and with the background of the last years of Mussolini rule and the first years of WW2.
The story is beautiful tale that mixes up the sad reality with the boy's imaginary dreams.
It runs between cruel gossip and people lies and the true that lies underneath and is seen only to the eyes of the innocent boy.
I felt so involved in the film that I wanted to stop it sometimes and rewrite the scenes as it was so painful. The balance between the innocent boy point of view, the painful beauty of Malena and the evil and vicious of the village people is treated by the director (Giuseppe Tornatore) very gently so after all you left over with bitter-sweat taste but with the powerful emotional experience.
Monica Bellucci is amazing as sensual Malena and Giuseppe Sulfaro is unforgettable as Renato, the 12 years old boy. Giuseppe Tornatore is a great fairy tales weaver and he follow the same great story of Cinema Paradiso with this great new love story.
Tornatore is so great with creating the exact atmosphere and paying attention to the smallest as biggest details, you can actually FEEL the movie.
Purely a magnificent poetry.
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on December 31, 2002
This movie isn't one that should be taken for granted.These kinds of movies don't come along so often.The performances are subtle, but nevertheless powerful.Infact, the main characters barely speak, and yet they are able to leave a profound effect on you.Monica Bellucci, is a wonderful,talented actress, and her performance as Malena, a stunningly beautiful woman in a small Italian village during the second World War.Women are fiercly jealous of Malena, and men look upon her as nothing more than a sex object.Malena overcomes much sadness and lonliness, but in the end,is able to find solid ground once again.Giuseppe Sulfaro plays Renato, a young teen boy whose lust for Malena proves to be much more than a childish crush throughout the movie.This is a movie which is heartbraking and hilarious at the same time, making you laugh through your tears.It's sad that this movie didn't get as much acclaim as it deserved, because everyone should see this movie, there's something wondeful here for everyone.It's also nice to see a movie where there isn't any of the "Hollywood" presense.The people look like real people, not barbie and ken cutouts,and the story is real, it's no fairy tale,and it's not a predictable movie.I reccomend it from the bottom of my heart.
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