97 minutes – Drama
Festival release date: August 30, 2002 (Venice Film Festival)
Release date: October 4, 2002 (Canada)
Canadian distributor: Equinox Films
Between Strangers is an Italian-Canadian co-production that interweaved the stories of three women who, though strangers to each other, try to grapple with curiously intertwined dreams, desires, and choices whose consequences haunt and structure their daily lives. Within richly textured layers, the film offers a meditative exploration of women’s lives whose contours are decidedly etched by each woman’s lingering relation to her father. Olivia (Sophia Loren) has been secretly sketching for years, but recently there is an urgency to her drawings that originates in a recurring and persistent dream. Olivia’s dream pulls her from her maternal relation to her crippled husband to the daughter her father forced her to give up when she fell pregnant as a young girl. Natalia (Mira Sorvino) has just commanded her first magazine cover as a photojournalist, but an aching to know what happened to the Angolian subject of her cover prevents Natalia from celebrating her notoriety. Natalia’s father, a celebrated photographer, is incapable of hanging Natalia’s mind when her conscience leads her on a new course. Catherine (Deborah Kara Unger), an accomplished cellist, consumed with lingering pain, has disappeared from her family and is wavering unsteadily as she attempts to exact revenge on the father she holds responsible for destroying her mother’s life. As each story unfolds the women find themselves transported by the vision of a young girl. At once an image of a bygone childhood and a pressing reminder of their lingering desires, the young girl acts as a catalyst inspiring each woman to act in a more liberated and light spirited relation to her newly configured desire.
Also see: A review of Between Strangers.