Monday, December 10, 2018

My take on the 7th episode of the HBO series My Brilliant Friend

Both Elena and Lila get in involved with a man for the wrong reasons. In Lila’s case she becomes engaged to Stefano Caracci, a prosperous grocer, thinking this is her only a way out of an engagement to Marcello Solara.

When Lila asked Stefano if he was really different, Stefano replied, that was his intention. However, well aware of the difficulty of breaking with the mores of the neighborhood, he admitted that he didn’t know if he could keep his promise.

When Marcello Solara, furious that Lila had chosen Stefano over him, spread obscene rumors about Lila, Stefano and Lila decided to reject revenge and rise above the values of the neighborhood; they would act as if the Solaras did not exist. Stefano did not defend the honor of his fiancée, Lila ignored the slander, and the Solaras continued to spread lies. Elena did not understand what was happening. She found the Solaras’ behavior more comprehensible, more consistent with the world in which they had grown up than Stefano and Lila’s refusal to seek revenge.

Desperate to keep pace with Lila who is now engaged to Stefano, Elena becomes involved with a mechanic Antonio Capuccio. The film, like the novel, conveys the frustrations of adolescent sexuality in a sexually repressed culture. Elena felt strong sexual stirrings with her first boyfriend, Antonio, although her reasons for getting involved with him had more to do with her desire to keep up with Lila than for any deep emotional connection she had for Antonio.

Elena has affection for Antonio and enjoys their sexual intimacies, but is in love with Nino. Antonio is falling ever more deeply in love with Elena who apparently has no moral qualms about stringing him along. The film—up to this point--tends to portray Elena as “the good girl” and downplays her self-absorption and capacity for cruelty.

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