Emanuele Crialese’s personal drama L’immensità, which premiered in competition at the Venice Film Festival in 2022, is a vibrant tale of self-discovery that explores gender identity, mental health and turbulent relationships.

Unspooling in 1970s Rome, the film follows Clara (Penélope Cruz), a fun-loving mother who prefers to play around at the children’s table rather than socialise with the adults, whose seemingly carefree attitude conceals an inner darkness. Having moved to a new apartment with her family – in a neighbourhood whose demolished buildings and rubble seem to mirror Clara’s fracturing state of mind – she must confront the fact that her marriage to Felice (Vincenzo Amato) is over, and protect her children from his abusive behaviour.

Her 12-year-old (Luana Giuliani), meanwhile, is having a formative summer of her own. She begins to question her gender identity, asking to be referred to by the male name Andrea as she figures out who she is. Brightened by radiant, black-and-white fantasy sequences, L’immensità is a thoughtful meditation on childhood trauma and shifting identity that treats its themes with nuance and psychological honesty.

Read more about L’immensità on the Journal

Directed by
Runtime 99 Minutes
Release date 11 August 2023
  • Certification: 12