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My hair hurts, the review: the power of cinema to soothe the effects of the disease

My hair hurts, the review: the power of cinema to soothe the effects of the disease

Our review of My Hair Makes You Love Me, Roberta Torre’s film with Alba Rohrwacher which talks about cinema and illness with delicacy and effectiveness.

My hair hurts, the review: the power of cinema to soothe the effects of the disease

Presented in competition at the Rome Film Festival 2023 and in theaters from 20 October, My hair hurts and the film by Roberta Torre who brings to the screen an interesting reflection on cinema and identity. The director, who also writes the screenplay, chooses to tell a story that represents a slow fading, a conscience that, in order not to abandon her body, anchors itself to a character, Monica Vitti, his films and everything that revolves around them. Living an imaginary life is the only way that the disease allows the protagonist to continue to exist and it is around this parallelism between reality and fiction that everything happens, that everything gets confused. Alba Rohrwacher e Filippo Timi they offer an acting performance that is almost a pas de deux and which literally gives shape to a film as delicate as it is intense, a manifesto of human fragility and at the same time an ode to Italian cinema and some of its most famous and appreciated protagonists.

Rely on the cinema so as not to disappear

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Alba Rohrwacher and Filippo Timi in a moment of the film

Monica is a woman who is slowly losing her memory, his diagnosis is Korsakoff syndrome, a condition that is irreversible and for which there is little that can be done. The protagonist tries to remember the names of objects through notes and post-it notes and, while she tries to cling to her life, she begins to confuse reality and fiction. To remain anchored she borrows memories and image of the one she had evidently always admired: Monica Vitti. Trapped in a confusing reality, Monica she dresses like her favorite actress, talks like her, talks to her image like a confidant, to the point of believing himself to be the protagonist of the films he starred in. Next to her, however, is Edoardo, her husband, a man who does not let her lack his affection and who accepts this sort of “game” as a new everyday life, as a distraction from those real, pressing and contingent problems that arise soon at their door.

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Illness, a silent invader

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Alba Rohrwacher and Filippo Timi in a tender scene

My hair hurts tells the story of the disease, a pathology that like many others invades everyday life and just like every invader claims the territories of Monica’s mind for itself: little by little, piece by piece, she vanishes, her conscience becomes more labile and to those around him all that remains is the reflection of what has been, the crumbs of a life that now belongs to the past. She is not death, she is not life and for this very reason the woman, even if unconsciously, applies a strenuous resistance to this condition.

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Alba Rohrwacher in a scene

It is this resistance that gives character to the film thanks to a writing that effectively brings to light all the critical issues, the pain, of such a condition. Roberta Torre writes a daily life that is a slow and inexorable step towards oblivion, whose only savior is cinema. It is cinema with her immortal soul, its protagonists and her timeless roles that constitute the anchor that Monica needs and that allows her at least to imagine another existence.

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The metacinematic element

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Alba Rohrwacher and Filippo Timi as Monica Vitti and Marcello Mastroianni

The metacinematic element, in fact, is the most interesting and risky part of the entire film. When reality and fiction meet, the spectator is able to enter the mind of the protagonist and participate in the incursions that the films starring Monica Vitti make into her daily life. Original scenes and reinterpreted scenes alternate in sequences that are not always fully successful and which in some moments break the harmony and poetry of many carefully crafted shots.

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My Hair Hurts: A scene

The images, in fact, are a strong point of this work: very often Monica’s state of mind, her condition, are conveyed to us through image associations, as powerful as they are effective. Applause also goes to the sets, capable of giving personality to the film, succeeding in the feat of rendering an environment out of time, a place that offers few points of reference and which slowly undresses itself just like the protagonist’s mind, a land on which the imagination can try to adapt to and from which, unfortunately, despite having no insurmountable barriers it is impossible to escape.

Conclusions

To condense our review of My Hair Hurts into a few lines, we can immediately highlight the excellent writing of the film by Roberta Torre. In constructing the story she manages to effectively convey the slow fading of the protagonist’s conscience, as well as the almost salvific element embodied by cinema. Some more meta-cinematic scenes are perhaps not fully successful, but overall the aesthetics of the film work thanks to shots and sets with attention to the smallest details.

Because we like it

  • The writing is delicate and effective.
  • The shots and scenography are very accurate.
  • Alba Rohrwacher and Filippo Timi, perfect interpreters of their characters’ malaise.

What’s wrong

  • Some scenes where the metacinematic element is more predominant do not seem entirely successful.

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