Winter 1943. Martina is small child, who stopped talking since the death of her infant brother some years before. She lives in a rural area of central Italy. Her mother is pregnant again ...
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Enrico Lo Verso,
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Marco Tullio Giordana
Luigi Lo Cascio,
Luigi Maria Burruano,
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Libero De Rienzo
Winter 1943. Martina is small child, who stopped talking since the death of her infant brother some years before. She lives in a rural area of central Italy. Her mother is pregnant again and Martina lives for the arrival of her new brother. Meanwhile, the war is getting closer and closer, forcing the people of the village to tread a difficult path, torn between the partisan brigades and the Nazi Army. On practically the same day as the birth of Martina's brother, the SS start a massive roundup of civilians in the area, an infamous event that will come to be known as the Marzabotto massacre during which more than 770 people were killed in houses, cemeteries and churches. Written by
Palm Springs Internation Film Festival
There is a scene of partisans walking through the snow at around 26:30. There are four shots in total, with three shots (1st, 2nd and 4th) showing seven partisans, and the other (3third shot showing nine partisans. See more »
Despite being beautifully shot and well-made (and a few well-done scenes such as the skirmish and execution of a captured German soldier) this one's pretty much a dud...deals with historical events with which most non-Italians are probably not familiar (German atrocities against Italian civilians during the latter half of WWII) but other than cinematically treating a new chapter in that era's history the film doesn't have much to offer, mainly because it uncritically relies on the default narrative/theme for movies on the general subject of WWII in Europe (Germans/Nazis=bad/evil (irrational obsessive homicidal nationalist maniacs), everyone else=good).
I guess the size and/or "taste" of the "American" market has to be mentioned as the primary reason many non-American directors find it difficult to make films with moral complexity beyond the imagination of a three-year old? (To give one potential example, (Italian) communist partisans would sometimes ambush German units while the latter were in regions known to be pro-fascist/Mussolini, in the hopes that the Germans were enact reprisals against the local civilians, whom the communists hated as much or more than the Nazis (people often hate those closer to them than those far away)--but would an Italian director dare make such a film? Apparently not.)
Edit: To be fair there were a couple of minor details in this direction, such as the SS man who was unable to fire the heavy machine gun and the officer who helped the woman who survived the mass shooting (although that was kind of bizarre itself). But larger themes, such as why was the German presence so bad that the villagers were willing to risk their families to try to get rid of it (all the Germans seemed to do was ask for wine and then pay for it) were lacking. Also the depiction of the Italian civilians was radically naive--were they all really just simple happy country folk who cared only for food, family and Catholicism? Such stereotypes are themselves infantilizing.
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