It may be Valeria Golino’s first time behind the camera, but her courage and ambition easily compares with any renowned director’s. Miele (Honey), her first long feature, treats the difficult topic of helping people to die by making it her protagonist’s “shitty job”.
Irene, nicknamed Miele, travels to Mexico to buy barbiturates. She returns to Italy to help sick people, and their families, end their suffering with music. An encounter with a strange suicidal man reawakens Miele, who has been self-anaesthetising with loud music since the death of her mother.
Golino directs a tremendous cast with humility and subtlety: sometimes hiding her camera to capture intimate moments creating ingenious shots, or by following her heroine during long bike rides. Jasmine Trinca portrays this strange angel of death with verve and occupies the film with her talent. Her short dark hair strangely matches her sweet eyes throughout Miele’s long but certain evolution. The chemistry with Carlo Cecchi is irrefutable, which brings a powerful tenderness that is vital to the movie.
The director has chosen a trying subject for her first endeavour, but it was worth it. Euthanasia is highly debated in every part of the world, but even more so in Italy, home of the Vatican: “It is taboo in Italy because of our Catholic inheritance. I am in favour of euthanasia, for the right of deciding our own lives, but I did not intend to set off a polemic.”
Golino didn’t find a producer and has her partner, actor Riccardo Scamarcio, to thank for believing in her and funding the feature. And he was certainly right to do so. Miele will divide audiences, but there will be no dispute as to the fact that this is a very good debut. More than a famous actress: Valeria Golino is now also a talented director.
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Watch the trailer for Miele here: