La Sapienza | Chicago Reader

La Sapienza

The fifth feature by writer-director Eugene Green, an American expatriate who's lived in France since the 1970s, is a characteristically eccentric comedy about urban planning and spiritual longing. A successful French architect and his social-psychologist wife, both suffering from a sense of malaise, journey to Stresa, Italy, in search of professional and personal inspiration; once there, they befriend a pair of teenage siblings whose crises parallel their own. The husband goes off to tour cathedrals in Rome with the boy, who aspires to be an architect himself, while the wife stays behind with the girl, who's afflicted with the sort of unspecified, debilitating condition one encounters in 19th-century novels. This recalls Manoel de Oliveira and Eric Rohmer in its poker-faced style, deliberately archaic storytelling, and magisterial epiphanies. In French and Italian with subtitles.

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