Irene Wagner, the wife of prominent scientist Albert Wagner, finds herself blackmailed about her affair by her lover's jealous ex-girlfriend. The plot, an experiment in causing fear, drives her into a rage.
A demon bestows on a self-righteous working photographer's camera the power to smite from the Earth "evil-doers". Naturally, the indignant photographer turns his new weapon on, one by one, ... See full summary »
Paola, a Milan call girl, returns home to her village in an attempt to go straight. Rejected by her father, blackmailed by a former lover, and lusted after by her brother-in-law, she turns to her beloved sister for support.
In part one, The Human Voice, a woman alone speaks on the telephone to her lover, who has broken off the affair to marry someone else. He calls her several times in one night: he lies, she apologizes, she takes the blame, she weeps, she pleads, she asks a favor. Her pain and desperation drive the simple story. In part two, The Miracle, a homeless woman believes that a man she encounters on a hillside is Saint Joseph; he takes advantage of her. When she discovers she is pregnant, she knows it's a miracle. Other villagers mock her, and she has the baby alone, near a locked church, in the straw of a goat shed.Written by
Initially banned in the UK, only the section entitled THE MIRACLE was shown by special permission of the London County Council. Somehow people seem to persist in interpreting the story as a Second Coming narrative, whereas the character played by Anna Magnani only believes she is to bear a "special" child as a reward for her piety. There is not a shred of evidence to suggest she believes she is carrying the Christ-child. Dubbed by the Vatican as "a sacrilegious blasphemy", it is ironic that, as an atheist, the power and emotional intensity of this film brought me the closest I have ever been to what could perhaps be termed a transcendental experience. A masterpiece.
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