This is the shadowed outlines of a woman's face. This is used to represent Lila in season 2 episode 7 of "My Brilliant Friend".
Engin Akyurt

As fierce and unmoving as Lila presents herself, she’s actually quite sensitive and delicate but people treat her with a strange sort of harshness.

The recent episode of My Brilliant Friend was arresting and heartbreaking as usual. Lenu (Margherita Mazzucco) is distancing herself from Lila (Gaia Girace) but as much as it’s needed, it’s so depressing to think that Lila is being left behind while she flourishes. Will Lila ever catch a break? Damn.

In “Ghost” the rift between Lila and Lenu has now reached an intense level of irreparability that’s so unsettling. While Lenu is in Pisa, thriving at university, discovering herself and experiencing passion for the first time, Lila is suffering back at home. When she returned from her affair with Nino (Francesco Serpico), she told Stefano (Giovanni Amura) the truth: that she’d fallen pregnant with her lover’s baby but Stefano was in complete denial. So for the first little while, they were able to negotiate a more relaxed relationship, one that allowed Lila to entertain the role of housemaker and to nurture her son’s education (much like she did with Lenu). But the gentle atmosphere was temporary because it was just the interlude to the hardships and loneliness to come for Lila. Stefano found a lover, Ada (Ulrike Migliaresi), and of all people, she’s one of her friends. His affair brought a feeling of uncertainty to their relationship that she hadn’t prepared for. Ada threatens the stability that came with marriage: the house, money, food and status in their community. And even though Michele Solara (Alessio Gallo) offered himself as Stefano’s replacement, she realized that he would also treat her terribly and that she would suffer worse if she left Stefano to be with him. Sadly, she incorrectly sought the help of Enzo (Giovanni Buselli), the neighbourhood guy who had brought her back to her unfortunate circumstance. So she’s doomed.

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Lenu learned about the depths of Lila’s misfortune by betraying her trust when she read the diaries that Lila had entrusted to her in confidence. She’d made her promise that she would protect her thoughts but Lenu decided to just get rid of them because it triggered her insecurity. It reminded her about all the feelings of insufficiency that she felt all along beside Lila so, that last decision to throw her diary in the lake was an instrumental moment that illustrated how far Lenu’s disdain and jealous had overwhelmed any compassion she held for Lila. It shows that now Lila has no one. It’s sad because now more than ever, Lila needs Lenu. She needs Lenu to help her leave Stefano and assert herself again and although Lenu might not want to help her, it’s incredibly cruel of her to leave her behind when Lila has always been supportive of Lenu’s studies. That’s the one thing Lila offered in her friendship, her constant support of Lenu’s education. Reliably, she wanted Lenu to free herself of the crippling nature of their community since she can’t do it herself.

As fierce and unmoving as Lila presents herself, she’s actually quite sensitive and delicate but people treat her with a strange sort of harshness. The scene with her former teacher was especially disappointing and unfair. Her teacher decided to nurture the potential she saw in Lenu and neglected Lila. Yet she blames her for the destitute circumstance that has befallen her. How hypocritical and wicked. How was Lila going to remove herself from her situation with no support of any kind? Unlike Lenu, her family didn’t support her education, instead she was traded for an investment; she also got trapped in an abuse relationship at her most curious and malleable years, the years when she could have studied and achieved greatness but now, she felt like was she too far gone to recover from the years of not studying. Lila doesn’t feel like she could ever catch up to her peers much less Lenu so, she’s self studying. And the fact that her old teacher blames her instead of pitying her; telling her to stop reading books she doesn’t understand instead of encouraging her to learn, and helping to change her circumstance is disgusting. The actors are so marvellous in their roles because I hate everyone.

Elena Ferrante’s story is so incredibly intimate and tender that it would be such a shame if her story is really based off of her life or someone she knows. At first My Brilliant Friend felt like a fantasy, like a sort of unrealistic magic because of how sensual and dreamlike she was able to make every moment of their friendship seem. The story was agreeable when a sense of hope, of happiness was still dangling as an eventuality for both girls and so the poetic feel of every scene made by the music and cinematic shots was touching. In reality though, these effects masked the real brutal and depressing truth which is that the story is really about how jealously and misunderstanding destroys a friendship and leads one girl to flourish and leave behind another friend as she suffers. It’s not so sweet when you see it so plainly. I guess stories like these are equally important but damn it’s sad. The series is still outstanding so, I’ll keep watching but why can’t both girls be happy?

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