A woman visits a prison to play Scrabble with a man, an inmate. As they play, the amassed words prompt memories of first glimpses and almost encounters; moments that marked their past. ‘He’ was a man with a temper. Having done time for his wrath, he gets work on the early shift at a bakery in his hometown of Trieste. He, an insomniac, often walks the streets at night; he sometimes looks in shop windows. He takes photographs; his favourite being that of the neck of a woman, a stranger on the 05:30 streetcar. ‘She’ gave up her medical studies and came back to Trieste to nurse her aunt. She works the night shift cleaning in a clothes store. She sometimes rides the 05:30 streetcar. She has a turtle called Zoë, given to her by a boy in exchange for one touch of her neck. She sometimes buys cakes. Years later the two meet. He the patient and she his surgeon. They are drawn to one another and as they spend time together, places, photographs and moments bring them back to their shared childhood. Then things start to go wrong. The game of Scrabble is over.
Pasetto has created an unpretentious, funny and touching film. The backdrop of Trieste, a great atmospheric soundtrack and engaging performances all lend themselves perfectly to Pasetto’s picture of what can happen when adolescent ideals of love meet the real thing. ED