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San Michele aveva un gallo More at IMDbPro »

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A study in tragic idealism

Author: Zmajina from Zagreb
27 June 2003

What starts as a light-hearted story, as our hero makes a ludicrous attempt to ignite a revolution, quickly turns into a tragic tale of a basically nice guy who tries to preserve his ideals in inhumane conditions. Although the script is an adaptation of a Tolstoy's short story, it looks more like something Kafka would have written if he had had more sympathy for his characters. The film reminds me of a 19th century caricature by Honore Daumier: a kid breathes on the windowpane of a shop, is caught by a guard, brought to trial, spends his entire life in jail, is released an old man, comes to the same windowpane and defiantly breathes on it, another guard arrives, but the man is already dead. The most beautiful scenes can be found at the end of the film, where the splendid and barren landscape of Venetian marshes is used as the adequate setting for the almost unbearably poignant finale.

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3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

intellectual anarchist in end of 800's

Author: camel-9 from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
8 September 1999

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

for those hard-core taviani brothers fans, this is a treat. Slow going and with little action, the story recounts the attempts of an anarchist to start a revolutionary movement in rural italy in the late '800s. His attempts fail and is incarcerated for a decade in isolation. Cut off from human contact, in order to keep his mental sanity, he stages simulated political meetings in his cell, and fastasizes gourmet meals while eating prison food. At the end of the movie, in a rare outing, he exchanges words with a younger and newer generation of political prisoners, but instead of finding common ground, realizes that his ideology has been ignored by the generations that followed. A slow movie, like all Taviani films, but very symbolic. A rare "political" movie, that US audiences might have trouble following without knowing much about the political movements that existed in Europe in the 800s. Slightly similar in concept to "Cristo Si E' Fermato a Eboli", the latter being more pleasant with its travelogue mix of Southern Italy.

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