Respiro is a 2002 Italian film written and directed by Emanuele Crialese and released in English-language markets in 2003. The movie stars Valeria Golino, Vincenzo Amato, and Francesco Casisa. In the Italian language, respiro means a “breath”.
Grazia, played by Golino, is a free-spirited mother of three married to shy fisherman Pietro (Vincenzo Amato) and living on the idyllic but isolated island of Lampedusa in the Mediterranean Sea. She shows signs of manic depressive behavior — one moment she’s laughing wildly and swimming half-naked in the sea, while the next she’s curled in a ball on her bed. Out of her earshot, the adult members of her extended family vaguely discuss sending her to a facility of some sort in Northern Italy.
Grazia is closely shepherded by her oldest son Pasquale, played by Casisa, who appears to be about fourteen years old and often assumes more of a parental role with his mother. After Pietro puts down one of Grazia’s dogs because he thinks it might be…