'Respiro' is the critically acclaimed story of life on a small, insular community on a small island off Italy. Grazia is a bored housewife. A fiery, elemental spirit, she feels weighed down by her marriage to a very solid, boring man, and longs for freedom of expression, passion and excitement. She takes long walks that handily showcase the beautiful scenery and the hot whites and blues of the sand and sky and sea; this is a film that invites you top pull up a toasting fork and warm your crumpets by the heat radiating off the screen.

Longing to be free, riding her moped round and round the claustrophobic island and jumping into the sea at the drop of a hat, the desire to express and be different that Grazia displays makes her a source of concern and suspicion in the minds of the townsfolk. In a community where everyone knows everyone else and everything is as it always has been, and shall always be, Grazia's individuality is seen as threatening and dangerous.

Deducing that she must be mad, Grazia soon falls in danger of a plan by the islanders to send her away to an asylum in Milan, where life in a pacified, vegetative state awaits her. It is now that her deep love for her son Pasquale and his for her will be tested as she tries to escape the cruel fate the unforgiving islanders have planned for her.

Gaining plaudits by audiences and critics alike, this is one film whose spirit roars off the screen in a great wave of light, colour and sound. It will sweep you away and make you question your own judgements and values as you follow the story of Grazia, the woman who refused to conform and be forgotten. ‘Respiro’ means ‘Breath’ and this is the story of someone trying to ‘breath’ freely against unsympathetic odds. It will live long in your memory.

Written with help from

Rotten Tomatoes Score:



Comedy, Drama


Emanuele Crialese


Emanuele Crialese


Valeria Golino, Vincenzo Amato, Francesco Casisa, Filippo Pucillo


John Surman


95 minutes




Italy, France




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