The healers,the quack doctors ,have always been around;on a large scale, you have Rasputin -who had real powers-,on a smaller one ,you have the charlatan (or the healer with certain powers)) on the block or in the village.
Ciampi's movie is a failure:his healer is a former doctor with a medical background at the university ,played by handsome Jean Marais (he should have turned down such a bad part),he is not really an empiric ,ready to get back to science when the "hands" do not work anymore .Thus the debate is altered:hence the travesty of a trial after which the healer is carried in triumph by the crowd.
Actually ,Ciampi's healer is closer to a shrink :nowadays ,there are less healers,because people rush to the shrink's place instead;Jean Marais tells us so: the people he cures are not really ill:they are hypochondriac and he soothes them ;but his motives are dubious:"I gave up medicine because I did not make enough money".His rival,a former colleague ,is nasty,unkind,devoid of human feelings,the screenplay obviously wants to make us side with the ex-physician.
Danielle Delorme provides the love interest as well as a very melodramatic ending ;Maurice Ronet appears as a patient who suffers from TB.
To be successful,the film should have shown a true empiric healer;by not doing so,it fails in its purpose.
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