* Originally published on [Gay.com UK](http://uk.gay.com/)
Antonia and Massimo have been married for fifteen years, but are still very much in love. With no children and only a small circle of friends, their relationship is so intense that, when Massimo gets knocked down in a car accident, Antonia’s life falls completely to pieces. Neglecting her family and friends, her pain increases when she discovers a love letter to her husband written on the back of a painting called ‘The Ignorant Fairies’.
In her obsession to find out the identity of this mystery woman, Antonia is shocked to discover that her husband’s lover was, in fact, a man. Not only that, but Massimo and his boyfriend Michele had been together for seven years, creating a large network of close friends — an extended family that Antonia, despite herself, begins to find herself drawn into.
Thus, the scene for director Ferzan Ozpetek’s latest film is set. Le Fate Ignoranti is a powerful discourse on the nature of friendship and family, and what place love has when the boundaries between the two become less distinct. Antonia (played by award-winning actress Margherita Buy) travels a complex emotional journey, starting off completely resenting Michele (Stefano Accorsi) but gradually realising that she has more in common with him than she ever did with her husband. Still, she finds it impossible to stop grieving, and her palpable pain at seeing Michele laughing and joking — and finding possible new lovers — is gut-wrenching.
In less confident hands, Michele’s extended family could come across as a collection of hackneyed stereotypes: a prostitute, a male-to-female transsexual, a good-looking man who is struggling with his anti-HIV medication — the staple of many a poor gay melodrama. However, with Ozpetek (director of Hamam: The Turkish Bath) at the helm, and a cast of supporting actors that never hit a wrong note, the course of Antonia and Michele’s growing attraction towards each other remains completely believable, wholly involving and heart-achingly resonant right until the closing credits.
There are precious few films that, after one viewing, will encourage you to drag your friends along to see it again with you. Le Fate Ignoranti is one such film: a sweet, uplifting tale that stays with you long after you’ve left the cinema.