Using slow, meditative strokes of classic filmmaking, first-time director Paolo Franchi explores loneliness and the fear of emotional involvement in The Spectator. Ostensibly the portrait of a "stalker," this very delicate, understated piece of filmmaking deals with three characters' self-induced solitude. Valeria (Barbora Bobulova), a quiet young woman, becomes so obsessed with a man she barely knows that she gives up her own life, to live vicariously in his world. Even she doesn't know why. Valeria's life in Turin revolves around her work as an interpreter, evenings in a disco, one-night stands. She spies on a neighbor, Massimo (Andrea Renzi), who lives opposite her. When he suddenly moves to Rome, she impulsively drops everything to follow him. She insinuates her way into the life of the woman he's seeing, Flavia (Brigitte Catillon), an attractive widow and lawyer. When she is finally introduced to Massimo, he appears not to recognize her. Still, there is a feeling between them, which the film prefers to leave undefined and ambiguous. The three actors glide gracefully through difficult roles in which their feelings remain repressed and unspoken. Bobulova, who has worked with Italy's top directors, portrays Valeria as a sweet, confused girl. The French actress Catillon (dubbed into Italian by Licia Maglietta) is both alluring and distant, having erected an impenetrable wall around her emotions after the death of her husband. Perhaps the biggest loser is the shy, quiet man played by Renzi, who yearns to open up to someone but never finds "the right person."