8 November 2010 | Red-125
Lesbian love on an 18th Century Mediterranean island
Viola di mare or Purple Sea (also known as The Sea Purple) (2009) was written and directed by Donatella Maiorca. It's set on a barren island in the Mediterranean sea in the 19th Century. This clearly isn't paradise for anyone, and it's hell for a lesbian couple.
Isabella Ragonese plays Sara, who returns to the island after many years away. Valeria Solarino plays Angela, a determined, forceful woman, whose gender and sexual orientation make her a rebel and an outcast. These women fall in love--or, actually, revive their love--and they are clearly meant to be a couple. However, in a small, closed society like this one, their life together is considered impossible.
This is the basic plot (and the basic problem). What follows in the film is a compelling drama of true love trying to flourish--or at least survive--in an unlikely setting and in an unlikely way.
Both women are very lovely and the overall acting in the film is excellent. The production values are high. This is a movie worth seeking out and seeing. It will lose some of the barren scenic quality on the small screen, but it will otherwise work well on DVD. We had the privilege of seeing it at the Dryden Theatre, as part of the superb ImageOut Rochester Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.