Malèna is an Italian movie I watched because of youtube recommendations.
There is no regret in watching the movie!
The director might have shown erotic scenes. He might have objectified Malèna. He might have shown that Malèna without a man by her side, can’t live without another man’s support. But can anyone object that women were let to live as they please during the 1940s?
Yes, it was hard watching Malèna’s life. But it is painful to realize that women had to actually go through all that before.
To think about today’s society- Have we completely changed? Maybe not! But it is better than what it used to be in some cases.
The movie is set in a Sicilian town where a twelve-year-old boy falls for a young beautiful woman who is wanted by every man in the town. Her husband has gone to fight in the second world war and she is living alone. Malèna is beautiful and she dresses fancy compared to the rest of the women in the town. Every man wants her and every woman hates her.
Her father also lives in the town and works at the local school. Malèna hears that her husband has died in the war and, she is the new talk of the town given she is single now. There are a lot of rumours. The twelve-year-old boy Renato is obsessed with Malèna, he always spies on her.
But life is hard for Malèna and she is called upon court about her having an affair with an unmarried airforce officer. She is not convicted and her lawyer wants the price for his service. He rapes her. Renato witness all this and wants to protect her. He prays to god for Malèna’s safety.
But suddenly the town is bombed and Malèna loses her father. Now without her husband or father, Malèna is only seen as an object of pleasure by town men.
Malèna had always tried to be moral. But now she had no one to take care of her. No one in the town sees her as nothing more than an object of lust. Her reputation is no more, given that the men who couldn’t get her or the women who hate that their husbands like Malèna, start rumours about her.
She couldn’t find anyone to give her a job but she needs food and livelihood. She starts down the path of prostitution for survival.
But things don’t go well for Malèna. One day the town women find Malèna and thrash her in the middle of the town. They cut her hair and rip off her clothes shaming her. Malèna has no one to save her. Renato witness all this. He also finds out Malèna leaving the town without anyone noticing her.
But Malèna’s husband returns after the war is over. He couldn’t find his wife and his house is occupied by some other family. Renato leaves an anonymous note about Malèna’s whereabouts.
After a few years, Malèna walks the same town with her husband. She doesn’t dress fancy like she used to. She looks more plain and unattractive like the rest of the women of the town. She is with her husband and is seen as an honorable person now. The women who thrashed her and shamed her greet her with a smile.
The disturbing thing in the movie was, that ‘Women are enemy of woman’- a bitter truth. They couldn’t see that it was the mistake of their vile-minded husbands to have lusty eyes for Malèna, and not Malèna ’s fault for wanting to look fancier.
The power of rumours is scary. Malèna’s whole life is ruined because of all those rumours. She didn’t have any other path than the only one that was carved for her by the townspeople.
The men seeing women as nothing more than an object of pleasure is painful to watch.
Even after knowing that Malèna was pushed into prostitution because of her situation, the women still blamed her for everything and harmed her. But no one was brave enough to take it to their husbands.
As a cherry on top was the final scene where everyone suddenly respected Malèna and didn’t bother to talk about her, just because she had a man by her side. They went as far as to greet her as ‘madam’ because she looked like them and she was no threat to their marriage lives anymore.
‘Malèna’ movie was disturbing because it involves human psychology, which treats people who are different with nothing but hostility. It is a good movie. A fair warning is that the movie does have erotic scenes and sexual fantasies of Renato to those who want to avoid such scenes.
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