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My Brilliant Friend

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The place to discuss all episodes of My Brilliant Friend. Please note; book discussion should be spoiler tagged for information prior to episodes airing, and posts that don't may be removed. Thank you!

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The first promo has dropped;

From Vulture:

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Bring on My Brilliant Friend: HBO has released the first teaser for its Elena Ferrante adaptation, due in November. Directed by Saverio Costanzo, the eight-episode series follows the friendship of Elena Greco and Raffaella “Lila” Cerullo.

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No reviews yet but some details about the production.

 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/elena-ferrantes-my-brilliant-friend-comes-to-hbo-1541603256

This part I found interesting, that the identity of the author is unknown but she collaborated on the production.

 

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Elena Ferrante is a pseudonym, and the secretive author has never revealed her real name. (In 2016, an Italian journalist said he had uncovered her identity, though it was never confirmed.)

Ms. Ferrante played a key role in the screen adaptation. The novelist reviewed screenplays and provided notes to director Saverio Costanzo, who also co-wrote the scripts. In 2007, the director had sought to purchase the film rights to one of Ms. Ferrante’s novellas but the project didn’t go anywhere.

Ms. Ferrante remained a mystery to the show’s production crew, communicating only by email and mostly just with Mr. Costanzo. The two never spoke, he said, but through their correspondence he discovered a savvy collaborator.

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S01E01: Le Bambole

I didn’t even notice the dolls until towards the end.

The child actresses are as precocious as Lila in the first grade, already able to read and write before being taught at school.

Meanwhile, the immersion into post war Italy seems convincing and reminiscent of postwar films like Bicycle Thieves.  People have very little, other than the mob boss, and are left to fend for themselves.

The odds are against girls growing up in this milieu — not that there weren’t women of this generation who went on to accomplish a lot but they’re likely to be from wealthier families.  In fact previews indicate that the women have to fight their own families to continue their education and the sexism of the times.

Lila seems to be the fierce iconoclast, pushing both of them to do things their contemporaries wouldn’t dare doing.  Of course the book and the show are from 60-70 years after the period depicted, after feminism and well after roles for women have been expanded well beyond poor Melina, barely 30, mother of 4 and a widow, who doesn’t know any other way than to latch onto a man, even a man with his own family.

Obviously these two main characters would appeal to current readers and viewers, because they’re brilliant and ahead of their time, who see themselves the way “evolved” or “woke” people today would.

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There's nothing like a period drama to remind that no matter how fucked up the current world is, I am so glad I don't live in a past time period. A widow at 30 with four kids and no prospect of keeping everyone fed and housed except finding a man with a job? No thanks!

Bonus: it's okay to repeatedly slap and assault a little girl in broad daylight because she's smarter than your brother. Again I say NO THANKS.

Like the teacher, I would like to know how Lila taught herself to read and write by the age of 6. I knew how to read and write at that age, but that's because my parents read to me a lot, I watched Sesame Street, I had educational coloring books/activity books with numbers and letters, and my parents put me in school early. I really don't understand how a kid during that time period would magically know how to read and write (cursive, no less!) without anyone teaching her.

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I'm very interested in this series, as I read the first book. I had difficulty following some of the beginning because of all of the nicknames for the characters and hoped the series would help me enjoy the story more.  So far, I do. Looking forward to the next installment.  

As far as kids throwing rocks at each other, or bigger brothers beating up little girls, unfortunately, I think perhaps it happened more than we, in our 21st sensibilities like to think.  I get a sense that the author is showing just how little power these girls (and their mothers)  have, other than their minds.  Even the fathers don't seem to have much power, given what happened to the carpenter who called out Don Achille. I'm looking forward to seeing how the rest of this goes. 

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S01E02: I Soldi

That was tough to watch, both girls being beaten by their fathers, with Lenu’s mother egging on her father to beat her.

Then Lila being thrown out the window for defiantly saying she’d take the admissions test.  Was her father angry at her defiance or his inability to pay for continuing her education?

I don’t know if they’re going to make more out of it but it looks like Lila set up Lenu to get in trouble for their little trip to see the ocean.  She thought Lenu would get in trouble and not get to go to middle school.

Presumably it didn’t break them up.

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Interesting that Don Achille was portrayed as such a boogeyman but when the girls confronted him about taking their dolls, he was just a regular (confused) man trying to figure out what the hell these little girls were talking about. I'm not saying he was a super nice guy (I'm sure that some of the rumors about him were true) but he wasn't quite the monstrous ogre that they had built him up to be in their minds. At the very least, he wasn't lurking in the cellar like a spider and stealing little girls' dolls as they had imagined.

Elena's mother is a piece of work. First she guilt trips Elena's father into beating her and then she tells Elena not to cry? Okay then.

It definitely seemed like Lila suggested the trip to the sea to get Elena in trouble so that she wouldn't be able to go to middle school either. It makes me so sad to see these (fictional) smart girls being told they won't be allowed to pursue any further education. It makes me even sadder to know that it still happens today. At least Elena's father let her continue going to school.

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This is brilliant so far! The two main characters.. the actresses performances... they'll stick with me.

Yes we're seeing the girls fairy tale perspective. Don Achille isn't an ogre or a lurking monster, but he does throw people to the wall and hold neighborhoods in fear of speaking up. The reality is revealed to be a drearier, greyer version that's perhaps more oppressive than an ogre would be.

Elena's father's actor makes an impression in his brief scenes. Tough to see him provoked into violence. 

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On ‎11‎/‎19‎/‎2018 at 10:41 PM, scrb said:

I don’t know if they’re going to make more out of it but it looks like Lila set up Lenu to get in trouble for their little trip to see the ocean.  She thought Lenu would get in trouble and not get to go to middle school.

 

2 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

It definitely seemed like Lila suggested the trip to the sea to get Elena in trouble so that she wouldn't be able to go to middle school either.

For sure.  And I loved that the writer and director didn't feel compelled to spell it out any more than that for us.  Lila is smart, but also the epitome of furba, an Italian word that can be translated as sly, cunning, astute, or clever but to me has always meant a combination of those things.

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I like the show a lot so far, its doing a great job at showing this very specific place and time, in this case, post WWII Italy. It really reminds me of The Bicycle Thieves, with this dirty, desolate feeling where people are so desperate to just survive that they turn mean at times. No one has much, except for the mob bosses, who seem to be these looming, superhuman forces of nature, and they and the church seem to be the only people with any real authority. 

Love the young actresses playing the two girls, they seem very real, and smart without being overly precocious. Its sad seeing their desperation to just get an education, in a time when no one, especially little girls from poor neighborhoods, had a lot of options. I also really liked the kid playing the "mule" kid, he played both being tough, and being remorseful when he actually hit the girl he was fighting with in the head. 

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About three hours ago I let out a scream because I was just taking a casual gander at what's up in HBO Series Land and WHAT DO I BEHOLD! I read this series about two years ago and would not, COULD not, shut up about it for months.  Easily one of the top five best things I ever read in my whole life. I never in my WILDEST DREAMS thought anyone would be crazy enough to try to adapt the whole thing to the screen. (They're going to do all three, right? RIGHT??)

Here's why else I'm going to be an annoying blithering idiot from here on in: part of the reason I loved the series with unbridled passion is because I lived in Naples. Daddy-o was military and we landed in Naples when I was fifteen. When I was sixteen, I met the Neapolitan dude I would end up moving in with at 18 and marrying at 26 (and divorcing at 38). So I lived there a while, man, and it's crazy. And beautiful. With no shortage of crazy. Or beauty. And Elena Ferrante nailed Naples, like, down to the protons. TOTAL masterpiece. I just can't tongue bathe it lavishly enough! It really helped me retrospectively understand my insane in-laws, too. Because like, I'm Scandinavian. Imagine a pasty Norwegian standing there amidst all that chaos looking bewildered. That was me!

I am SO SO SO HAPPY ABOUT THIS SERIES!!!! It's only been two episodes but I think it's beautifully done so far! I'm sure it helps that Elena Ferrante is involved. SHE IS A GENIUS OF THE WRITTEN WORD. (Cannot tongue-bathe enough.) One nitpick and then I promise not to be THAT GAL anymore...at least I'll try so hard...I promise...but IN THE BOOK (so sorry in advance...) (not a spoiler, but tagging it because I do reference the book)

Spoiler

the only person who calls Lila "Lila" is Elena. Everyone else calls her Lina. Lila is Elena's special name for her. I can see why that would be unnecessarily confusing on the screen, but it was a really sweet part of their friendship in the books, I thought. At one point, Elena even says if she ever called Lila "Lina" like everyone else did, that would be a signal that something was very off between them.

It's a trip to hear the dialect spoken so strongly too---ahh, brings back a lot of screamy Christmas Eve dinner memories! I wonder if they had to subtitle the really heavy dialect bits when it aired in Italy?

Dang am I excited! For a Norwegian!

Edited by Aja
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I'd like to see them continue on but I think only the first season is guaranteed.

HBO is going out on a limb by airing a show in a foreign language and making their viewers read subtitles.  There seems to be room for one big foreign language film every year or every other year in the US, so who knows how a series in a foreign language would go over?

The producers envision multiple seasons, to treat each of the books but have no guarantees beyond the first season, if I remember the reporting on this series.

Now maybe there are some Italian sources of funding, as well as some EU cultural agencies funding it and if it finds an audience in Italy and the rest of Europe, HBO might be willing to keep it going.

I think some of the Italian producers are involved with Young Pope as well so maybe HBO wants to cultivate it.

However, be aware that they plan to move this series to Mondays and after the New Year, if it isn't finished, they're going to reserve the Sunday time slot for True Detective S3.

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4 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

I like the show a lot so far, its doing a great job at showing this very specific place and time, in this case, post WWII Italy. It really reminds me of The Bicycle Thieves, with this dirty, desolate feeling where people are so desperate to just survive that they turn mean at times. No one has much, except for the mob bosses, who seem to be these looming, superhuman forces of nature, and they and the church seem to be the only people with any real authority. 

Love the young actresses playing the two girls, they seem very real, and smart without being overly precocious. Its sad seeing their desperation to just get an education, in a time when no one, especially little girls from poor neighborhoods, had a lot of options. I also really liked the kid playing the "mule" kid, he played both being tough, and being remorseful when he actually hit the girl he was fighting with in the head. 

Definitely a Bicycle Thieves feeling where the people are left to fend for themselves, just as they are doing to eek out a meager living.

There isn't a legal authority to prevent crimes so the mob is strong, especially in this part of Italy.  There were no cops when the guy was dragged out of the church and thrown against the wall or when Achille's henchman was beaten up.

Then when Achille is killed, the carabinieri finally show up and take the guy who had beef with Achille away, even though Lila believes it was the woman who killed Achille.

 

After WWII it took years before Europe recovered and restored some sense of normalcy.  I remember hearing that most apartment buildings in even Paris didn't have running water or running hot water into the '60s.  In the UK, there was all kinds of food rationing for most of the '50s.  It was hard for them to get good consistent sources of protein.  Instead they got rations of things like corn meal.

Meanwhile in the US, it was an era of fins on Cadillacs and other discretionary goods, because access to high calorie foods wasn't an issue.

Marshall Plan may have eventually rebuilt Europe but it would be some time before the middle class would achieve a standard of living comparable to that enjoyed by Americans.

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1 hour ago, scrb said:

Marshall Plan may have eventually rebuilt Europe but it would be some time before the middle class would achieve a standard of living comparable to that enjoyed by Americans.

Yes, my father left northern Italy in 1955 because, while his skills as a mechanic were in high demand, no one was paying their bills.  Had he stayed two or three more years, he probably would have done very well, but he was eager to get on with his life and knew there were opportunities in the U.S.  Even in the '60s though, I remember my mom sending packages to her sisters with clothes my brothers and I had outgrown that they could use for their children.  

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10 hours ago, scrb said:

However, be aware that they plan to move this series to Mondays and after the New Year, if it isn't finished, they're going to reserve the Sunday time slot for True Detective S3.

What I saw said that HBO will continue to air two episodes per week (one on Sunday and one on Monday) so the season finale will air on December 10.

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What a collection of miserable people the adult characters on this show are! I feel sorry for the poor children who are stuck with these adults as parents/mentors. The men are arrogant assholes and the women are hysterical, bitter and mentally unstable. Both teachers take out their personal frustrations by abusing/ridiculing their poor students. It reminds me of the school scene from Pink Floyd The Wall. These parents have such large families, but they seem very resentful towards their children and certainly aren't very loving towards them.  What a rotten environment for these kids to grow, learn and have a childhood. 

I am very impressed with the two young girls who are amazing actresses. I can't remember ever seeing children that young so far advanced in their acting ability. They will be missed, as older actresses will play the characters starting with the third episode, I think.

I just happened to stumble upon this show while channel surfing and I am glad I found it. Its a fascinating show.

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S01E03. Le Metamorfosi

They renewed their bond over Latin and designer shoes.

While Lenu is lacking confidence and uncomfortable in her pimply skin, she sees ugliness and brutality around her.

Lila is isn’t going to be the Solara boys’ next victim — she’ll cut a bitch.

Meanwhile she astutely sees that people have more money and that there will be a market for designer, aspirational shoes.

But in the end, biology wins over her as well.

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I am absolutely loving this show. It’s so much easier to keep up with the large cast of characters in the book now that I have Faces to attach them to.  When I was Reading the books  I couldnt always remember who Ada/ Antonio were or how i would ever differentiate Carmela/Gigliola/Pasquale/Enzo but now it’s all coming back and everyone has a distinct, memorable face. 

 

But good God, the shittiness of the men.  They are all so so awful, aren’t they?

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Ugh, in this week's episode of Boys Are Terrible, more gross boys being disgusting. Sadly, the same crap still happens today.

The Solara brothers continue to be rich bullies in the worst way possible. Force a girl into your car, have your way with her, then announce to the entire town that she's a slut. Just watching them makes me want to take a Silkwood shower.

They did a great job casting the actresses who play Elena and Lila. The middle school girls not only look similar to the little girls from the first two episodes, but they have the same air about them.

Ha, I don't blame Elena for hiding in the bathroom to read (or just to escape her brothers). Loved seeing the new library. My parents bought me lots of books when I was a kid AND they took me to the library frequently so I know I was much luckier than Lila and Elena.

Last week, Lila told Elena to take their copy of Little Women home so her dad wouldn't know she had it. Now she has an entire bookshelf in the backroom of the shoe shop. Has her dad stopped caring that Lila is reading now that she's not in school anymore?

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It's striking how Lenu's mother is opposed to her continuing her education.  Of course she could be getting a job bringing in some money instead of spending all that time studying and going to classes.

This is pretty much the mentality of third world countries, where children are pulled out of schools after a couple of years and then put into work as soon as they can, because the families need all the income they can get.

I once read an article about an Afghan girl who was in her mid teens.  She had picked up English fairly quickly in the wake of the US coming in to wipe out the Taliban, which forbids teaching of females.  She had ability to do more with academics but instead, her family was going to marry her off to some much older cousin, because if she wasn't bringing in money, she was a drain on the family resources.

It's not quite that bad in Naples in the last '50s.  After all, many families are recovering and may have some discretionary funds to buy Lila's shoes.  But I guess it's one thing to buy nice things and another to shed the survivor mindset following a long war.

 

I thought the family pictures on the opening credits looked odd.  They were posed in homes, shops or outside.  Typically family portraits were done in studios and they're black and white from that period.  But these are meant to be stereoscopic pictures!  Kind of like Viewmaster but maybe it was a thing in Italy to have colored stereoscopes made.  Or maybe they're just trying to draw attention to this world that they want to immerse the viewers in.

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Love how the soundtrack and mood is pitched to 'horror flick' - there's the intensity, the anger, the injustice reflected in the the language of cinema, sound design, the performances. How easily the show could've become banal, but instead the flammable emotions suppressed under the surface peek through.

The teenage leads are just finding that tone and that pitch perfectly.

The men and boys are pretty nasty here, but at the same time you have to appreciate the interesting looks the actors and filmmakers bring forth, the stares, gazes, expressions. 

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When Stefano invited Lila and Elena to his house for New Year's and the girls insisted that the other families would be with them aka putting the children of the murderer and the murdered under the same roof, I was afraid that he only agreed to it because he had some kind of plot. When he happily welcomed everyone at the party, I was convinced there was going to be some kind of incident between the families so I was tense the entire time.

But of course it was actually the Solaras who had to go and ruin the happy night with their need to be assholes and lord it over everyone, first by aiming fireworks at a roof full of women and children (who the hell does that?!) and then by shooting a gun. Like seriously, guys, can't you take one night off from being complete dickheads? Obviously the answer is NO since they can't even handle other guys dancing and having fun at a neighborhood birthday party.

I liked the meeting that the kids had to discuss whether they would go to the party or not. Even though they aren't all BFFs, it was a group decision.

Interesting that even now when Lila is no longer in school, Elena still feels competitive with her. No one is stopping Elena from learning Greek on her own, but the thought never crosses her mind to seek out things beyond the curriculum she's given at school. Poor Gino - her only interest in him was having a boyfriend before Lila.

I loved that she finally got to see the sea (although I was worried she was going to be hit by a car when she decided to take a slow stroll through traffic).

I liked that she got to see a different side of her father when he took her into town. Oftentimes the person we see is not the same as the person they are when they're with other people, and that can be especially true of parents/children. The way a child sees a parent at home is not necessarily the same way the parent's coworker or friends see them.

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3 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

I liked the meeting that the kids had to discuss whether they would go to the party or not. Even though they aren't all BFFs, it was a group decision.

 

It was nice seeing all those personalities together. Pasquale is one charming guy, at least as portrayed by a charming actor. 

The final scene was.. beautiful. Something hellish, supernatural about it, and Lila (via Elena)'s description of her brother's "transformation". There are truly intoxicating moments in this series, it's sort of always intense but then builds to these feverish climaxes. 

There's something very human about Elena, relatable, recognisable, finely portrayed in nuances and suggestions rather than obvious declarations.

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My neighbor is from Italy and this time period. It helps me to understand him better and his quirks for hard work (even at age 77), waste of food, and his views on what a woman should be doing (cooking, cleaning, ironing). Definitely old school. 

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Slate Cultural podcast discussed the show.  A couple of them had read the books and one said people should read the books before watching the show.

They remarked on this period and the setting, where anyth8ng goes and life was brutal, people getting beaten on the streets regularly.

The girls only know this neighborhood and as they venture beyond it, they have to adapt to the fact that lawlessness is not universal.

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Lila is the starlet, desired by all the different factions in the neighborhood.

Maybe Stefano was being honest about burying the hatchet but he seemed interested in Lila while Alfonso liked Elena?

Among the Carracci and Solaro boys I only recall Alfonso going to school with the girls.  Maybe Stefano and both Solara boys were few years older?

So as the girls matured the boys noticed them, especially Lila.  But it’s not just her looks but her confidence, which Elena lacks.  Lila seems to be the only girl who can pull off the rock and roll moves and own the room where they had the party.

Marcello Solara isn’t forcing himself on Lila, yet.  Her holding a knife to his throat must have been some aphrodisiac.

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On 11/24/2018 at 1:21 AM, BigDfromLA said:

What a collection of miserable people the adult characters on this show are! I feel sorry for the poor children who are stuck with these adults as parents/mentors. The men are arrogant assholes and the women are hysterical, bitter and mentally unstable.

Its really sad, because you can tell how desperate, sad, and bitter so many of the adults are, and how much it affects how they interact with the kids in their care. I can feel bad at times for them, like how Elena's mother wants her to start working and helping out, leaving school, because she truly cant understand why Elena should go to school when she is needed at home, as their family is poor and already has several mouths to feed, but its also so horrible to watch. Poor Elena just wants to go to school! All the adults just seem so miserable and hopeless, it leaks out onto their kids. It really feels like no one even knows how to look outside their neighborhood, and everyone hates that fact, but have resigned themselves to it.

Loved the transition of the years, with the characters going from their kid selves to their teenage selves. I will miss the kid versions of the girls, but the older versions are already great as well. They really nail the personas of the kid versions, while showing how they've grown over the years. 

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I just finished binge watching the first four episodes and I'm really just immersed in the story. The brutality and petty drama remind me of the film "Malena" which deals with the travails of a beautiful woman during the war if you haven't seen it. And also provides a window into why the adults are the way they are. The acting is top notch from the children and adult actors. I'm ashamed to say I haven't read the novels, but will make a point to do so. 

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I've had a copy of the book for a few years but never got around to reading it. I was going to wait until I finished watching the series but I decided to start it a few days and finished it quickly! There were a few changes made from the book to the show, but overall I found the show pretty close to the book.

As much as I like the actors playing Lila and Elena, I enjoyed getting to know more of Elena's thoughts in the book. As expressive as the actors' faces are, sometimes it's nice to get actual words. It was interesting to see how much more obvious and unrelenting Elena's jealousy of Lila was. 

Reading the book also helped me keep the characters straight better, probably because I was already familiar with most of them but also because there was a handy list in the front of the book with all the characters organized by family. When watching the show, I recognize the faces but I don't always remember whose son or brother they are.

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S01.E05:  Le Scarpe:

I don't know what the name of their neighborhood is but you can take the boys out of that neighborhood but you can't take the neighborhood out of the boys.

They were cursing and shooting at each other on New Year's Eve, now Rino wants to suck up to Marcello.

Meanwhile, Lila's father looks at the shoes Rinos made and instead of seeing drive, initiative, innovation, he wants to beat on Rino for trying to usurp him.

As soon as Marcello showed up, tried to sweet talk the father and Rino, since he got nowhere with Lila, I knew it was going to be trouble.

How heartbreaking, they suppress her genius and now they're going to sell her off to that thug.

Lenu tries to defend Lila but she gets to go to Ischia.  So instead of that abortive trip to Via Toledo, she gets to really get away from the neighborhood, at least for awhile.

As Lenu gets free from that miserable place, it appears Lila is going to become further bound to it.

The shoes were suppose to improve the fortunes of the Cerullos, or so Lila hoped.  Instead, Marcello uses the shoes (how did he know about them?) as a ruse to capture Lila.

Edited by scrb
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Oh, Pasquale. You suggest getting engaged when you've never been on a date? Thank goodness I didn't live in 1950s Italy. And then we have Marcello who is obsessed with Lila because  they danced together for one song at a part. Everyone needs to slow their damn rolls. I give credit to Lila for not putting up with either of their nonsense.

I was surprised that Lila and Elena's parents let them go into the city just to get ice cream. They seem pretty strict with them and I can't imagine they would encourage then to spend money on the bus and ice cream.

If Rino is supposed to be responsible for Lila's safety, then why did he think it was okay for her to take the bus home without him? I guess I can't keep track of all the man rules.

Even though Elena felt guilty about leaving Lila in the midst of Marcello proposing, I'm glad Elena is getting the hell out of the neighborhood, no matter how long her actual vacation is.

I was sputtering with anger when Lila's mother told her that she should think about the family aka accept Marcello's proposal. Yes, of course you should marry someone who you loathe to help out your family! Ugh.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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Those were some pretty impressive fictional shoes. I guess they're not fictional any more. 

Very sweet moment when Lenu insisted on joining Lila in re-entering that cove of macho misbehavior.  Those small glimpses of Elena's firmness, resolution, point towards some sort of inner solidity, even if she's largely incapable of showing outwards confidence so far. 

2 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Oh, Pasquale. You suggest getting engaged when you've never been on a date? Thank goodness I didn't live in 1950s Italy. And then we have Marcello who is obsessed with Lila because  they danced together for one song at a part. Everyone needs to slow their damn rolls. I give credit to Lila for not putting up with either of their nonsense.

 

I guess I have to take back my praise of Pasca as a charmer. That was kinda clumsy. Also he didn't start things but he's complicit in Rino's hijinx. Michele showing up there looking like the most scummy scumbag imaginable. I figure the actor is getting typecast to high heavens after this.

Will be nice to have an island vacation next episode. Though knowing this show, it will still play out like a horror movie.

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It was less than 100 years ago but I think young women had little or no say about whom they married, especially if they were from poor families and marriage was seen as a way to improve economic prospects.

Hell I was surprised Papa Cerullo didn't backhand Nunzia when they were arguing about Lila ducking Marcello for the rest of the dinner.  Certainly that's what Lenu's father would do to her mother if she spoke up too loudly.

I think also, while things are improving economically for the country as a whole, most of these families depicted are not seeing their fortunes improve.  They don't grasp that education for the children is a way out nor becoming entrepreneurial.

In this old world, it's about whom you know, currying the favor of those higher up on the social ladder.  So besides Papa Cerullo willing to sell his daughter to Marcello, it was Lenu's father trying to suck up to the judge at the court where he worked.

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S01E06: L’isola

The first 45 minutes were like a reverie, with the sun, the sea, the enchanting pace of summer on an island, away from the “vortex” of the neighborhood.

Then they go back to that grim apartment, with Marcello trying to bribe the Cerullos for Lila’s affections, but then starting to get surly and menacing in the face of her severe rejections.  I would have thought Lila would dismiss the TV out of hand, though she may eventually.  But maybe she wants to see some new dance moves, though the comedy revue seemed to cheer her.

Finally Donato’s repulsive behavior, which Nino alluded to, surfaces and she gets the hell out of Dodge, er Ischia.

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Its really interesting to see the world changing, and how the adults in the neighborhood just dont seem to understand that. To them, selling their daughters to some brutish but connected jerk was just what you did as a girl. The idea that this is a short term solution to the families, while giving their brilliant daughter an education would lead to even more long term financial security, seems to be truly something beyond comprehension. For now, at least. 

Those shoes really are pretty awesome, but its so sad seeing how Rino and Lila were so excited to make the shoe, but their dad just saw it as Rino trying to take his business from him. Like I said, so many of the adults are in this constant state of dog eat dog when it comes to their finances, due to the poverty and instability they've experiences, among other things, and it makes them so angry and miserable, even towards their own kids. 

Poor Lila. It really hurts to think of the countless people who were utterly brilliant and could have done amazing things for the world, but they never got that chance, because they were the wrong gender or color or economic class or country or something, while truly mediocre people from the "right" versions of those things go to actual go onto influence the world, just because of an accident of birth. I hope she still has a chance! 

Elena might be nervous and lacking in confidence, but she has steel inside of her somewhere. 

The island stuff was so beautiful and fabulous, that it made the grit and grime of the neighborhood even bleaker. 

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I would have watched this episode just to see all the beautiful shots of the beach. It was also nice to see Elena get away from the neighborhood and her family and have a chance to be herself, relax, and not worry about anyone's expectations of her. Ischia seemed the opposite of the neighborhood in almost every way: light instead of dark, peaceful instead of stressful, safe instead of dangerous, tranquil instead of violent, open instead of cramped and crowded, relaxed instead of chaotic, easy instead of difficult.

But of course, even the peaceful idyll of the island had to be ruined by Nino's totally inappropriate and unapologetic dad. It's not enough that he cheats on his wife but now he has to cheat on his wife with a girl (yes, that's right, A GIRL, not an adult woman) who is his daughter's age, who his young son and wife adore. She's lying there crying and all he can say is "Let's do it on the beach tomorrow night!" What a fucking pig.

When the story switched back to Lila's house near the end, the contrast was even more pronounced - everything was dark, dirty, crowded, suffocating. It was gross watching everyone pressure Lila into marrying someone who she clearly has no interest in. The fact that he threatened her in the hallway just showed that he's an asshole who can't wait to own her so that he can do whatever he wants to her.

Nella might be my favorite person in this story. She kindly offers to let her cousin's student spend the summer at her beautiful house overlooking the sea in exchange for almost no chores. Then she sends Elena to run after Nino's boat because she isn't blind.

I really hope that Elena takes that other family up on their offer and goes to visit them in London. The sooner the better. Like Lila, I wish Elena could get out of the neighborhood and never have to go back.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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On ‎12‎/‎3‎/‎2018 at 9:09 AM, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Oh, Pasquale. You suggest getting engaged when you've never been on a date? Thank goodness I didn't live in 1950s Italy. And then we have Marcello who is obsessed with Lila because  they danced together for one song at a part. Everyone needs to slow their damn rolls.

No sex without marriage in 1950s Italy! 

One thing I'm noticing that hadn't stuck out to me so much in reading the book is the almost complete absence of the Catholic Church in the lives of the neighborhood people.  My parents, who are about 12-15 years older than Lila and Lenù, grew up in very small towns in northern Italy, and the Church was omnipresent in their daily lives. 

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The show is officially renewed for a 2nd season, by the way!

And yeah. That was an episode of.. air to breathe, a horizon to see, beauty and comfort, and then of course, in the end, also inevitably the horrid nature of man. A real nice character-builder of an episode for Elena, though, even got to geek out about Dickens and Dostoevsky and all that jazz.

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So happy to hear about season two! Viva MBF!

This episode really was a breath of fresh air, it truly did feel like going on vacation somewhere beautiful and exotic. It was so nice, I wanted to reach through the screen and feel some sun! Elena got to explore to world outside her village, and even got to talk about all her favorite books, and generally have some good character work. And then, of course, some creepy old man has to ruin everything. 

Nella seems really cool, I hope we see more of her in the future. 

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Nice article about production and casting in The Guardian.

The young actresses who play the teenaged versions of the characters seem very perceptive!

Quote

“I fell in love with my character from the first scene I had to play, so I wanted to get that part at all costs,” [Girace] says of the seven-month audition process. “I like the fact that she’s observant and empathetic. But it’s a difficult character to play, because she’s very complex, she changes attitude in an instant. I was able to understand Lila only by acting her. She gives the appearance of being very strong – maybe if you read the book you might think she’s bad, but that’s not true, she contains a lot more: she has a fragility that she conceals.”

Of the friendship between the characters, she says: “The bond between Lila and Lenù [Elena] is magical: they complete each other. Lila is strong, but fragile inside, and Lenù, the apparently weak one, is strong inside. Theirs is not a common friendship – there is always a distance, but they always end up getting closer.”

While Girace has always wanted to act, Mazzucco had been planning to pursue either languages or architecture. Then she was handed a flyer about the auditions outside school; she asked her parents if she could go, out of curiosity, since many of her classmates had auditioned. She attended the last day of casting. “In the beginning, I didn’t like Elena very much,” she says, “I preferred Lila, because she’s more dynamic. Elena was just too calm, passive.” But once she got the role, she read all the books: “I began to understand the character much better, and then I liked her. At first glance Elena seems shy and reserved, but in reality she has a great determination, discipline and courage, which will allow her to get away from poverty and change her life through study.”

Edited by Inquisitionist · Reason: Typo
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Another interesting background piece from Vogue.   I was wondering why the actors in this series looked so much like real people, such as Elena's mother with the limp and wonky eye.  Turns out, they ARE real people!

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19 minutes ago, Inquisitionist said:

Another interesting background piece from Vogue.   I was wondering why the actors in this series looked so much like real people, such as Elena's mother with the limp and wonky eye.  Turns out, they ARE real people!

Maybe they cast real people to save on cast budget?

Or to get real Neopolitans to try that obscure dialect?

It'd be great to see the girls get some other roles, though we don't get too many Italian films or shows distributed here, unless they're big international hits.  For one thing, a lot of what they play on Italian TV are dubbed US TV shows and movies.

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That was a sweet Vulture article with all the four girls speaking over one another. I'll be devastated if we also lose the teenage actresses after this season.

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I never liked Elena's mother, but it was heartbreaking to see her see her daughter off and limp away. 

Haven't finished the first book yet, but I hope Nino doesn't become like his father, despite how much he loathes him now.

Poor Maestra Olivieri, I fear for her, maybe she'll recover, probably not.

Edited by orangepeel

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Well I would imagine they cover the characters as young women, no longer teenagers, in the second season.

I didn't read the books so I'm not sure.

Certainly one of the big appeals of Game of Thrones from the beginning were the child actors and the show grew with them, since they grow up to be the main players in the series.

But since Elena at least reaches her 60s, they have a lot of ground to cover ahead.

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Well they showed Lenu being kissed by both Nino and Donato and it's a big contrast.

She said Nino's kiss was barely perceptible (forget the exact word) but she's crushing on him.

Donato was invasive, since it was sexual harassment.  She was paralyzed by fear but she also said in the narration that she hadn't known pleasure until then.

She felt "disgust" for Sarratore but also felt "revulsion" for herself.

Elena who is a writer didn't try to put this experience into words until now, going back and looking at her life with Lila, which is the occasion for this narrative starting in her childhood.

Presumably she doesn't tell Lila or anyone else.

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