The Translator (Massimo Natale 2015): Italy

Reviewed by Justin Richard. Viewed at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2016.


An Italian film illuminates the experience of class diversity through a drama about a Romanian student falling in love with a swanky lifestyle as he establishes a relationship with his client. The film describes different class through contrasting worlds, and for the student, he has never been introduced to a wealthy lifestyle before. Him being bilingual, he is able to read his client’s husbands diary that was written in German.

The client Anna, is a wealthy woman who faces her fear of listening to the student Andrei speak of what is written in the dairy. Cinematography, sound, and the mise-en-scene portray the strong emotion that is evoked by both parties. Camera angles stay around eye level panning in fast motion around him and her with quick cuts. The words of the student are echoed in the background. As he digs deeper into the story of the diary the camera pans faster and the cuts become shorter. His echoing voice becomes louder and his words are overlapped. This develops the interpretation for the audience to sense foreshadowing where the strong emotion within these scenes creates tension between the student and wife.

Furthermore, the movie creates realism of todays contemporary issues of diversity between class. Anna and Andrei continue the sessions of him reading the diary until tension builds to a boiling point. Their emotion is then used towards each other by evolving themselves with a sexual, secrete relationship. The movie portrays an ideology of Italian society frowning upon a relationship of different class. This is done by Anna and Andrei keeping secrecy of their actions only amongst each other. As Anna’s friend comes to the door unannounced the two act is if Andrei was only in the house helping with translating the diary.

Andrei embracing the lifestyle of the wealthy ends with him falling in love with her and her world. He moves into her old college apartment where he strays away from the atmosphere he used to live in. He quits his job, moves out of his old apartment, and stopped talking to his surrounding people including his girlfriend. Red objects now appear more frequently by this time of the movie portraying passion. This emotion is shown toward the new life he consumes and Anna is the influencer of it all. Meanwhile, his girlfriends passion increases as she is ignored. Once fully attached, Andrei relies his life in the hands of Anna to conclude in her leaving him. His girlfriend flies in and as they hug tightly Andrei sees the wealthy lifestyle flash by as if it was only a dream.

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