New Greetings from the Dark. Many of us spend time thinking about the meaning of life. We have this luxury, because most of us have already traveled the path of self-discovery … a slightly more winding and windy road for others. The opening dialogue of the film by the first director Carlo Lavagna takes on any possibility of a fashionable or Hollywood twist. The title character reveals that she was born three times: once as a boy, once as a girl and finally a girl who understands who she is.
As children, we are so dependent on our parents and we trust them. Of course, this is out of necessity and naivety, and as we mature, we learn that our parents are just human beings – hopefully in our best interests. We meet Arianna (Ondina Quadri) for the first time as a 19-year-old girl who returns with her parents to the old family holiday home for the first time since the age of 3. Arianna is in hormone therapy because her body grows slowly (Small Breasts, no menstrual cycle). She was cared for by a gynecologist, who was arranged by her doctor father, and is increasingly frustrated by her lack of progress in femininity.
Arianna wonders why her mother seems so strange, and is surprised when a neighbor asks Where her brother is. All this happens in a picturesque Italian setting of greenery, rain and swimming holes. As she slowly uncovers the secret that lasts almost her entire life, as spectators we experience a constant sense of fear for her … although your story is always treated with dignity and Empathy. Arianna tries so hard to be “normal” and even partially excuses her parents for acting in her best interests.
First time actor Ondina Quadri, is grandiose in the main role. She looks a bit like a young Joaquin Phoenix in parenting, and she’s quite believable as someone trying to figure out who they are, and then striving to be placed halfway between the two socially accepted gender. It is a look at the biological state known as intersex, as well as the correlative theory of gender attribution. Most of the time, it’s a touching story of a 19-year-old girl who lets us feel her Frustration and it’s beautifully presented by a talented new filmmaker.