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Federica (Jasmine Trinca), a clumsy, graceless Italian director, had her first epileptic seizure on Christmas Day 1989 while watching the execution of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena Ceausescu on television. Since childhood, her only passion was cinema, and one film in particular played an important role: Hal Hartley's Simple Men (1992), in which Romanian actress Elina Löwensohn has an onscreen seizure. For Federica, it was a critical moment of reflection and connection. Years later, Federica has the opportunity to make a film in Bucharest about the life of her long-time icon. But the real Elina Löwensohn is much different from the one in Federica's imagination and the true characters of both the actor and the director quickly reveal themselves. Seeing through a new lens, Federica's mind becomes clouded and her ideas for the film less clear. Mid-production, she has a fit of epilepsy; through her blurred vision, the faint lines between life and art fade entirely. Director Chiara Malta was inspired by a meeting with the real Elina Löwensohn, an experience that started her questioning what exists behind a simulacrum. In her tender, playful, multi-layered fiction debut, she crafts a film that cleverly toys with perceptions and projections. Guiding us through the unconscious, Chiara Malta marches her characters from realism to the realm of magic realism, all the while weaving a captivating fable about idol worship and identity. The hypnotizing and innovative Simple Women proceeds like a colorful Matryoshka: with the removal of each layer, preconceived images take on new and spectacular forms.

More Info

Release Date:

Sep 05, 2019


Italy, Romania


Italian, English, Romanian

Production Companies:

Rai Cinema, Vivo Film, microFILM

Gross worldwide: