Respiro (2002) - Synopsis

On Lampedusa, an island near western Sicily, rival boy gangs play roughly among seaside cliffs. Husbands go out to sea and wives work in the fish-packing plant. Pleasures are simple and fun is restricted to Saturday nights. The reality for all who live on Lampedusa is that island life can be as cruel as it is heartwarming, as suffocating as it is charming. Grazia is the affectionate, young mother of three children--a teenaged girl, Marinella, and two boys, Pasquale and Filippo. Vibrant and full of life, Grazia often sings along to the latest hit by Italian pop star Patti Pravo and enjoys finding ways to amuse herself and her children. But Grazia, much like the sea surrounding her island, can also be unpredictable and stormy. Her free-spirited attitude causes talk in the entire village. Grazia's husband, Pietro, lovingly stands by her in the face of small town gossip. But as Grazia's behavior becomes more reckless, even the powerful shield of her family's love can't protect her. Her husband's relatives become convinced that she is seriously unstable and decide that she needs medical treatment in Milan. But Grazia will have no part of this and her son Pasquale finds a way to protect her and the bond that she shares with her family. Respiro was inspired by one of Lampedusa legends. It is the story of a young mother who was looked down upon by the townspeople who thought she was crazy because she behaved outside the rules of their small community. One day, she disappeared leaving only her clothes on the beach. As time passed, the community was left feeling guilty for having driven the woman to suicide. The legend has it that the force of prayers brought her back to life from the sea and she returned to normal life with her family.

Sony Pictures Classics