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In the fascist Italy of 1935, a painter trained as a doctor is exiled to a remote region near Eboli. Over time, he learns to appreciate the beauty and wisdom of the peasants, and to overcome his isolation. Written by
Benjamin Bergery <email@example.com>
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You'd need a woman here.
Yes, I would. But it's not easy.
Come on, don't exaggerate. Don't tell me that here even finding a cleaning lady is impossible.
Here a woman wouldn't go in the house of a single man. Just spending time together implies sleeping together.
You can't be serious.
Oh, yes I am.
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A reason why many people believe films and politics shouldn't been together is the fact most films dealing with social political issues have in their nucleus the use of an abundant and wasted verbosity in which nothing is said, things are half done and the movie becomes other thing than a movie. Sometimes these movies get so preachy about a case that end up sounding idiotic, looks like they selling something to its viewers. And in the end, people who already don't care about the importance of politics in their lives will never understand it how influential this power is. Now, what "Cristo Si è Fermato a Eboli" ("Christ Stopped at Eboli") achieves in its deeper premise is showing how politics have to do with the humblest people of a country and the way it affects them, mostly for the bad things since this is a film about Italy during the Fascist regime in the 1930's and 1940's.
The main character Carlo Levi (Gian Maria Volonté) is an exiled painter and also a medical doctor who helps the peasants of Eboli, a small village to overcome their daily problems by assisting them with some medical treatment (since the local doctors don't care about them properly) and listening to what they have to say. He's there almost like a prisoner, he can't write letters criticizing the government, can't read Montaigne, can't go outside of the city limits but he has some liberties here and there. And despite being marveled by the simplicity of the peasants life and how things work for them this is a man aware of the politics importance and still seems to, quietly, fight the Fascism on its own way, giving some trouble to the city mayor. In one of the most fascinating moments of the film, the poor cause a great commotion in the city hall, urging that Carlo must be their doctor, something he couldn't do it at the moment since the regime wouldn't allow him.
As being an observation to life rather than a dramatic picture, this Francesco Rosi's film is quite interesting when it gets to this social theme but it disappoints by going for too long and showing so less; scenes are quite distractive, long, some dialogs are uninteresting; and after seeing as a whole the movie didn't work as I expected, it was quite meaningless. I like slow-paced films but this is just too much. Volonté's performance is very good, he's very versatile, pleasant; the cast is quite good; the film is beautifully shot and the locations are wonderful but only that can't make a film better. One scene I'll hope to remember in years to come is the Christmas mass with the drunken priest who lost the paper with his nice speech, to later be found with him saying: "This is a miracle from God. I've found my speech." And what it turns out to be his speech? A denounce against the Fascist. It's a very funny memorable scene.
It's not a bad film, it's just a little weak. Worths a view for curiosity, for its themes and some good elements already pointed out in this review. 5/10
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