By comparison to Perhaps Love, the film-within-a-film love story in Giuseppe Piccioni's La Vita Che Vorrei (The Life I Want) seems downright old-fashioned, yet all the more engaging for it. Even the love theme from Laura is layered into it, lending the film an old romance movie feel as it gestures to the film's female protagonist, aspiring actress Laura, played by Sandra Ceccarelli. La Vita Che Vorrei (The Life I Want) is a tasteful setting for Ceccarelli's jewel of a performance. Talk about a camera loving an actor's face!! She strikes me as the Italian counterpart to Liv Tyler (via her self-amused smile) and Allison Janney (via her mature sensuality).
As for her male co-star, I'm beginning to wonder if I shall ever see an Italian film without Luigi Lo Cascio? I just saw him in La Bestia Nel Cuore (Don't Tell) and—previously, of course—in The Best of Youth. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you. I enjoy Luigi. He does a fine turn in La Vita Che Vorrei (The Life I Want) as Stefano, a successful actor concerned his career is about to fail even as he falls in love—despite himself—with an actress on her way up.
The two are cast in a period drama whose plot and characters neatly align with those in their "real" lives. Unlike Perhaps Love, however, subtlety is not eschewed in La Vita Che Vorrei (The Life I Want) and, thus, I felt something for these two souls and the complex emotions summoned through and drawn into their performances.
Cathleen Rountree has already made the specific comparisons to Truffaut's Day for Night and Reisz's The French Lieutenant's Woman, noting as well the film's melodramatic allegiance to Camille and La Traviata.
As an aside, Cathleen introduced herself to me before one of the press screenings with a query about my digital recorder, which she'd spotted me using at the press conference earlier in the week. We started sharing enthusiasm and I discovered that Cathleen is working on a book—The Movie Lovers' Club—exploring the social possibilities of cinema experience. I hope to review her book and interview her in the near future for The Evening Class.