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"I don't think my friends would say I am a private person; but then they're not sitting there in front of me with a tape recorder, are they?”"  -Alan Rickman before release of Snowcake
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday September 15, 2020 

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In the tiny Italian village of Trivento, the location of one’s final resting place is as important as life itself. When Marcello’s (Jean Reno) wife, Roseanna (Mercedes Ruehl) is diagnosed with a terminal illness, the question of available plots in her beloved town’s tiny cemetery becomes acute. There are only three left, and there are others in the village who are dying, possibly claiming the available plots. Marcello’s love for his wife is boundless, and he sets about saving the lives of the elderly (as well as the careless) to make sure there is a spare plot for her final resting place. He faces the added complication of Roseanna’s sister Cecicila (Polly Walker) as a house guest, and Roseanna’s prodding to have them married after her death. The parish priest (Giuseppe Cederna) is trying to buy adjacent land so they can enlarge the cemetery and reduce village tensions, but Capestro the landowner (Luigi Diperti) is a bitter man who years ago was spurned by Roseannna in favour of Marcello. In the end, Roseanna and Marcello find the perfect plot.

"Purists will resile in shock horror, but this mulchy ItaloEngYank romantic comedy manages to be funny, unique and moving. Written by the seasoned (others may call him an ‘old hand’) comedy writer Saul Turtletaub (Jackie Gleason Show, Carrol Burnett Show), the film is set in a rustic Italian village, where the villagers speak English - except at funerals. Since funerals are crucial to the plot (sorry) this is either charmingly eccentric or contrived or confused, depending on your point of view. The comedic possibilities of a sombre topic like the scarcity of funeral plots are handled in true Brit style by director Weiland, who you might expect to have shot this in the shorthand style of tvcs - which are his stock in trade. (tvcs = tv commercials) He didn’t. Big US investors Spelling Films and Fine Line clearly thought this was a film in the box office footsteps of Il Postino, which didn’t even have English as its spoken language. Roseanna’s Grave is released here as For Roseanna (a weakening of the commercial knees perhaps, at the downside possibilities of the word ‘Grave’) but never mind. The gorgeous locations around Sermonata, Lazio, Anzio and Latina, combined with Henry Braham’s richly toned cinematography demonstrate Weiland’s view that in a comedy it is not necessary for everything to be bright and highly visible. High contrast and shadows add visual depth and complement the impressive cast’s ability to make this frolic real, charming and involving. And it has a good twist at the end."
Andrew L. Urban

"For Roseanna is a delight. Targeted, no doubt at the audience who enjoyed Big Night, this film is rich with atmosphere, its characters ripe with passion. While on paper the unusual premise for a plot may sound contrived, the stunning performances and poignant script are enchanting. It’s a bitter-sweet love story laced with a tremendous joie-de-vivre, set in the tiny picturesque village of Trivento, where the rich colours of Italy provide a magical backdrop. Scenes where old men sip their apperitifs in the town’s cobbled square, playing cards, are intricate parts of life’s tapestry. The acutely real and often funny observations of every day life are effectively portrayed by simple words, bizarre behaviour and genuine emotions. Marcello (superbly played by Reno) is a passionate and endearing character, his determination to save lives, in order to reserve Roseanna’s burial plot, while sincere and heartfelt, is comical, almost slapstick: Marcello directing traffic; cajoling hospital patients to recover; driving restaurant patrons home when they are drunk. But we always laugh with him, not at him. Mercedes Ruehl is open and warm as Roseanna. The emotional impact of this film hits quite suddenly. The film ultimately leads to a most satisfying destination, reinforcing its themes of love, honour and loyalty."
Louise Keller

"A cute idea to be sure, this sometimes lyrical but aimless film. The Italian gem The Postman, was such an unexpected hit in the US, that some wise guy in Hollywood thought that they can do an American version. Yeah, right. Not that this is a total waste of time by any means, it's just absurd to make such a well-intentioned fable, with French, New York and British actors playing Italians, and not American Italians, but we're talking bona fide Italian villagers. The casting makes Roseanna into a bigger mess than it otherwise would have been, had they shot it in Italian. It's a lovely idea, beautifully shot with a sweet musical score accompanying it. It should have been a better film but somehow got lost in the translation."
Paul Fischer

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Mercedes Ruehl as Roseanna

Mercedes Ruehl and Jean Reno


CAST: Jean Reno, Mercedes Ruehl, Polly Walker, Mark Frankel

PRODUCER: Paul Trijbits, Alison Owen, Dario Poloni

DIRECTOR: Paul Weiland

SCRIPT: Saul Turteltaub


EDITOR: Martin Walsh

MUSIC: Trevor Jones


RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes




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