Beast in the Heart, The / La Bestia nel cuore (2005)

4.0 out of 5

Not to be confused with The Beast in Heat! Cristina Comencini's film combines incest and lesbianism without falling into the trap of becoming an 'issue-movie'.

Working from her novel, Comencini weaves a tale of family secrets and suppressed emotions, aided by a strong performance from Vincere star Giovanna Mezzogiorno. The storyline includes a visit to the US, which may have aided the foreign recognition of the film, which included an Oscar nomination.

The plot may seem hackneyed, with a troubled woman wanting to find herself, but any excessive psychoanalysis is replaced with a thoughtful portrayal of abuse, and believable characters who are not merely ciphers.

The alternative English title, Don't Tell, is perhaps a wry comment on the modern nature of familial relationships and the secrets they may contain.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics