Director: Giuseppe Piccioni
Writers: Umberto Contarello, Linda Ferri, and Giuseppe Piccioni
Cast: Luigi Lo Cascio, Sandra Ceccarelli, Silvio Orlando, and Barbara Valente
Rated: Unrated (some sexuality/brief nudity)
IMDb | Trailer | Film is distributed by Film Movement
I often think of myself as a bit of an outsider. From my childhood I always felt like I was somehow different than other people. For this I have always liked movies with characters that have a similar disposition. Not only can I relate to the characters but I always find them to be more genuine and meaningful. Antonio (Luigi Lo Cascio) is such a character in Guiseppe Piccioni’s clever tale of a loner who suddenly falls in love.
Antonio is a driver by profession, chauffeuring luxury cars for wealthy clientele. We’re given the assumption that he has no family around, and his only friends seem to be his co-workers with whom he only associates with during work hours. He’s a good worker, reliable and always on time. Because he doesn’t have a lot of commitments he rarely says no to anyone, which leads him to be taken advantage of a bit.
New purpose is suddenly brought into Antonio’s life when he encounters a young girl named Lisa (Barbara Valente) one night when she jumps in front of his car. When he checks on her, Maria (Sandra Ceccarelli), Lisa’s mother, arrives on the scene and Antonio is immediately drawn to her. His attraction for her comes off a bit creepy when he does things like joins them at their table in a restaurant when they run into each other. I couldn’t help but wonder why Maria was so accepting of his initial creeper behavior, but as we learn more about her it is apparent she appreciates the fact that he’s nice to her if nothing else.
What’s most interesting about this film is its approach to the narration. The story runs parallel with a science fiction novel, one not unlike those that Antonio is fond of. The novel’s story is about an intergalactic traveler named Morgan, an outsider observing and trying to understand the world’s he visits. Antonio and Morgan could be one and the same, loners searching for meaning in their lives. This unique style of storytelling drew me in immediately and gave the story a nice and different perspective.
The character of Maria is a complex one as well. She resists Antonio, but also keeps him close. Her story draws some similarities to that of Morgan’s observations of people. Like Antonio/Morgan, she is searching for that something to make her life complete, but when she gets close to it she hesitates. I wanted to hate her, for playing with Antonio’s emotions, but at the same time I had sympathy for her. She is a strong and independent woman who’s faced a lot of misfortune. She wants and deserves to be happy, but fears failure.
Light of My Eyes is a poetic journey of love and personal struggle. The clever manner by which it is told enhances the experience by adding a different and thought-provoking perspective. There’s a scene where Antonio tells Lisa to ask strangers about their memories. If they can’t remember, they aren’t who they once were. There are many such notions in the film that cause us to explore our own lives.
The characters of the film symbolize many, if not all of us. We’re constantly searching for something, that completeness. We often drift into cyclic pattern of existence which sometimes causes us to forget what was once important to us. The longer we go through the motions, the harder it is to get back to our original pursuit. Sometimes it takes us to view ourselves as if we are visitors from another planet, like Morgan, to realize we all deserve happiness and that we should never let it go when we find it.
This is a very well handled film that is not only a quirky and original romantic drama, but also a thought provoking examination of people and the paths we take. The beautifully fitting music and cinematography enhance the emotion felt throughout the story and everything combined makes the whole thing feel kind of magical. This is the kind of romance film I wish there were more of.