Sole (2019) ***

December 1st, 2019
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Carlo Sironi | Italy, Drama 90′

For some a baby is a prized goal in life while others can use their fertility to make some cash on the side. This is the premise in this spare but topical drama from new Italian director Carlo Sironi. It centres on a heavily pregnant Polish girl (Lena/Sandra Drzymalska) who agrees to sell her offspring to a desperate childless Italian couple, splitting the proceeds of the fee with their nephew Ermanno (Claudio Segaluscio) who poses as the biological father of the baby. Surrogacy is still illegal in Italy.

The director steers well clear of melodrama or sentimentality in this rather austere feature that keeps a tight control of its plot-line, playing its cards close to its chest: Ermanno and Lena make for a morose couple who barely rub along in their relationship of convenience, although things improve slightly with the impending birth giving Ermanno a new aim in life, a welcome break from his state of hopelessness.

Ermanno is certainly a contemporary character, a buttoned down anger simmers behind his poker faced demeanour. It’s a thoughtful performance from non-pro Segaluscio, whereas Drzymalska is more accepting of her situation, inured to the pain she has clearly suffered in the past and quietly pleased to be prized rather than put down in her new role. But when the chips are down and Lena realises her baby is just a porn in her struggle to survive, the emotional meltdown is palpable. MT

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