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it all happens on a hot quiet day and night in Emiglia-Romagna. by all, I mean nothing, or at least nothing of consequence...and that is the mastery of this film.
often one goes to the theater to be entertained, to see drama and action, usually pretentious and contrived, and to eat popcorn, or hot-dogs as is the case in American theaters these days. this movie is certainly not for them. the votes tallied so far speak volumes. Look at the votes by American and non-US viewers. The truth plain.
By this I don't mean to talk badly about Americans, but by habit, and honestly, by founded stereotype, we are a restless and impatient lot. The Europeans and other nationals too are more patient and will give a film like this higher marks because they realize, or at least appreciate an attempt at something original, artistic, understated.
Understated. i like that word these days, and so when I went to see this film at the Santa Cruz Film Fest, I was enthralled. the photography is a master work and the composition of the scenes, the lighting, and the ambiental music is so graceful and patient that I struggle to recall any film that equals it in beauty and delicacy.
But I am biased. i have been to Italy. i have been to the country of Italy. i have seen the slow life. i have lived the slow nights. and conversely, I have hated hustle-bustle of the American (and even Roman!) rat-race. this film captures the pace of uneventful country life. it whispers to it's audience about the rhythm of reflection, the somber solace (and solitude) of silence and the madness unique to boredom.
The scenes of the African workers, the flowing river, the beautiful freckled girl, the lines of an old man's face, the subtle crickets ever-present, the piano player, the thinker, the rustic house, the fields...all of these are equally protagonistic. and so, if you love Italy, this movie will enchant you. if not, you will surely fall asleep.
Me, I was riveted, unblinking, and was wanting to take notes. The blend of sight and sound harmonious was so inspiring that I will forever remember it as a fleeting glimpse of cinematic heaven.
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