Valeria Golino

miele 02

Miele is directed by Valeria Golino, best known to English-speaking audiences as Topper Harley’s sexy, exotic girlfriend in the popular Hot Shots duology. That description, however, might be a reductive summation of her talents, because two decades later, she demonstrates what must be a higher calling as a director of challenging, thought-provoking drama in a film that should surely have landed In Competition — instead appearing in the still-esteemed Un Certain Regard cachet — and is presently the film to beat of not just the festival but the entire year. Going by the pseudonym Miele, Irene (Jasmine Trinca) is an angel of death, helping to give the terminally ill a peaceful means to leave this world, usually with the assistance of a loved one. To perform these euthanisations, she typically travels from Italy to Mexico to procure a barbiturate used to put dogs down and then implores said patient to drink it with vodka. However, one patient, who wishes to die but is not terminally ill, tests the mettle of Irene’s resolve, causing her to confront the very nature of her work.

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