Penélope Cruz stars in L’immensità, a powerful film exploring a trans boy’s self-discovery journey

L'immensità takes place in 1970s Italy and it loosely recounts director Emanuele Crialese's own experience.

Photo of the movie L'immensità in which Penélope Cruz and Luana Giuliani are sitting on a large flight of steps
Image: @maxis044 via Twitter

Starring Penélope Cruz, L’immensità, which is Italian for ‘The Immensity’, is a film that takes a close look at the dynamics of a family living in 1970s Italy.

The Spanish actress plays Clara, the mother of two children and a wife trapped in an abusive marriage. Her eldest child is a trans boy who struggles with his gender identity and decides to go by Andrea (an Italian masculine name). But their family fails to attend to his wishes, leaving Andrea to understand his trans identity on his own.

Even though he has a rough relationship with his family, Andrea finds support in Sara, a local Roma girl who helps him find self-acceptance and love.

L’immensità premiered at the Venice International Film Festival last September, and it was Emanuele Crialese’s first film in over a decade. The Italian director, who is trans, described the movie as a semi-autographical story since he took inspiration from his own childhood in order to make the film.

“The first rule that I give to myself, which was really a masochistic rule, was ‘detach yourself from the painful memory’,” Crialese explained to the Advocate.

“Recall that, but try to use metaphorical images, metaphorical scenes [to] transcend reality, which is something that I do quite naturally. When I’m making other films, I try to transcend the reality because reality is a little bit too boring for me,” he continues.

Crialese uses the child’s perspective in order to explore the issues surrounding that family and said that he didn’t want the film to be “too dramatic drama or too comedic comedy”.

“My main hope is that all the kids in us could kind of reconnect with that particular moment of our life, where we were kind of powerless, but full of superpowers, which are our imaginations, our fantasies,” Crialese explained.

An Irish release of L’immensità starring Penélope Cruz is scheduled for August 2023.

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