Federico Bondi, Italy
DAFNE follows the story of a young woman with Down’s syndrome as she tries to overcome the devastating death of her mother. Her father Luigi (Antonio Piovanelli) is also trying to cope, but finds himself struggling with depression. Carolina Raspanti shines as Dafne, bringing the character depth and sassiness which is compelling to watch. It is simply a nice story. Dafne and her father struggle to reconcile with the new reality and eventually find that they are strong together despite it all. Yet, even though it is a heartwarming story and the acting is compelling, it becomes clear near the end that this is a lightweight film without conflict or growth.
Luigi and Dafne both love and support each other throughout and although there are some minor difficulties, they are quickly glossed over and never examined deeply. Does Luigi feel overwhelmed with his new position as sole caregiver for Dafne? What exactly does Dafne feel about life without her mother? Is she concerned about the inevitable future where her elderly father also is not around? There are moments when it seems like the screenplay is straying towards these questions, but whenever it gets too close it moves to more comfortable territory. Considering the talent of the leads, it is really unfortunate that there was a bit more meat to the screenplay. While itmight be great for representation, it fails to tackle the subject in such a way as to bring about true understanding of Dafne as a character, and that is really quite disappointing.