MONICA © Viennale
Image of movie Monica
Image of movie Monica


Andrea Pallaoro
Italy, United States 2022
106 min

Returning home to care for an elderly, ill parent as an essential rite of passage forms the focus of Andrea Pallaoro’s third feature MONICA. Its delicate turns and poignant silences revolve around the title character’s affirming, yet often vexed experiences of gender transition and womanhood. Estranged from her strong-willed conservative mother, played with an uncanny mix of imperviousness and fragility by Patricia Clarkson, Monica must reconcile her conflicting feelings of hurt and revolt but also enormous empathy towards the heartbreakingly vulnerable matriarch.
In this nuanced chamber piece structured as a duet of wills, two women’s prodding glances, dialogues and gestures play off each other, in a constant push-and-pull of fearful exploration, primal love and yearning for recognition and acceptance. Trace Lysette’s Monica is quietly enthralling as a woman torn between the demands of familial duty, with its appeal to selflessness, and a desire for personal freedom and equally all-consuming self-discovery. Katelin Arizmendi’s sensuous, reflective and chiaroscuro-laden cinematography beautifully enhances the film’s atmosphere of secretiveness and trepidation. (Ela Bittencourt)

In the presence of Andrea Pallaoro.

Andrea Pallaoro: WUNDERKAMMER (2008, K), MEDEAS (2013), HANNAH (2017)

  • Trace Lysette
  • Patricia Clarkson
  • Adriana Barraza
  • Emily Browning
  • Joshua Close
  • Andrea Pallaoro
  • Orlando Tirado
  • Katelin Arizmendi
  • Mirko Perri
  • Paola Freddi
  • Andrew Clark
  • Patrik Milani
Varient Entertainment , Solo Five Productions, Melograno Films, Propaganda Films

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