MalÃ¨na is a 2000 Italian romantic drama film starring Monica Bellucci and Giuseppe Sulfaro. It was directed and written by Giuseppe Tornatore from a story by Luciano Vincenzoni.
The film is set in Sicily in 1940 during World War II just as Italy enters the war. Malena's husband, Nino Scordia, who left to join the military is presumed dead. Malena tries to cope with her loss, as the town she has moved to tries to deal with this beautiful woman who gets the attention of all the local men, including the 12-year-old Renato. However, in spite of the gossip, she continues to be faithful to her husband. Renato becomes obsessed with Malena and starts fantasizing about her. Renato continues to watch as she suffers from grief. Malena is shunned by the townspeople who begin to believe the worst about her, simply because of her beauty. She visits her father, an almost deaf professor of Latin, regularly and helps him with his chores. When a slanderous letter reaches his hands, their relationship suffers a catastrophic blow. In the meanwhile, the war worsens. The village is bombed and Malena's father is killed. The wife of the local dentist takes Malena to court, accusing her to having an affair with her husband, but Malena is acquitted. Court is told that Malena is being harassed for being beautiful as other ladies feel insecure and threatened by her. The only man Malena does have an innocent romance with, an army officer, is sent away. After her acquittal, Malena's lawyer Centorbi, using her unpaid legal fee as leverage, forces himself upon her while Renato peeps in from outside her house. Malena's poverty finally forces her to become a prostitute. When the German army comes to town, Malena gives herself to Germans as well. Renato sees her in the company of two German officers and faints. His mother and the older ladies think that he has been possessed and take him to church for an exorcism. His father however takes him to a brothel; Renato has sex with one of the prostitutes while fantasizing that she is Malena. When the war ends, the women gather and publicly beat and humiliate Malena, who leaves for Messina. A few days later, Nino Scordia, Malena's husband, returns looking for her, to the shock of all the residents. He finds his house occupied by people displaced by the war. Renato tells him through an anonymous letter about Malena's whereabouts and the fact that she always loved only him and all the rumors about her cheating were not true. Nino goes to Messina to find her. A year later, they return. The villagers, especially the women, astonished at her courage, begin to talk to "Signora Scordia" with respect. Though still beautiful, they think of her as no threat, claiming that she has wrinkles near her eyes and has put on some weight. In the last scene near the beach, Renato helps her pick up some oranges that had dropped from her shopping bag. Afterwards he wishes her "Buona fortuna, Signora Malena" (good luck, Mrs. Malena) and rides off on his bicycle, looking back at her for a final time, as she walks away. This is the first and only time they speak to each other in the movie. As this final scene fades out, an adult Renato's voice-over reflects that he has not forgotten Malena, even after the passage of so many years. He says, according to the English subtitles, "Of all the girls who asked me to remember them, the only one I remembered is the one who did not ask." (the original Italian literally translates to "I have known many women who have told me, 'remember me,' and I have forgotten all of them. Still today, it's her, the only one I have never forgotten")