Drama, passion and religion make for a good night's entertainment!
Fabrizio Canepa (Andrea di Stephano) a small time gangster who collects "protection money" from local shop-keepers is given a new and dangerous assignment - to kill Don Paolo, the highly respected local priest. The plan fails and Fabrizio lands in jail. The good priest who preaches love not hate regularly visits him in jail and Fabrizio's outlook on life begins to change. After his release he enters a seminary where he studies to become a priest. Unlikely as this plot may seem, it does provide opportunities for some excellent drama from the lead character and supporting cast. Beautiful raven-haired Rachele who is addicted to drugs makes persistent but unsuccessful attempts to seduce Fabrizio. Her frustrations and unbalanced uncontrollable behaviour is convincingly portrayed. Don Paolo the priest with great plans for the extension of his church gives a fiery performance, particularly as pastor in the local jail. Nimico the ruthless mafia leader and his son Mauro show reluctance to establish a truce as faith confronts organised crime. These are all great supporting actors. But fundamentally the film wins or loses on the quality of the performance of relative newcomer Andrea di Stephano in the lead role. After watching the telemovie several times, I have to admit that the interpretation of the part of Fabrizio is well-handled showing a great range of emotions (Note how he uses his dark wide-set eyes to great advantage) Some of the dramatic highlights for me are: The death of Don Paolo, the unexpected car bomb scene, the children's choir which moves one to tears, Salvino's "miracle" painting and Rachele's courtroom appearance. There is of course a moral to the story that truth always wins through in the end.
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