The Night of San Lorenzo, the night of the shooting stars, is the night when dreams come true in Italian folklore. In 1944, a group of Italians flee their town after hearing rumours that the Nazis plan to blow it up and that the Americans are about to arrive to liberate them.Written by
Michael Brooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The night of August 10th, when the feast of St. Lawrence is observed, is the time of the year when meteor showers can be observed in the sky. It has been a tradition in the western culture that wishing for a favor when watching the falling stars in the sky is a way to ask for love, riches and luck. The sky watchers can expect a spectacle like no other because of the way those distant lights are seen falling, fast and furious.
The brothers Taviani, Paolo and Vittorio, have always come out with interesting films that involve simple people, usually connected to the land. In "La Notte di San Lorenzo", the Tavianis take the viewer to witness a group of people from Tuscany during the last days of WWII. The story is told by a 6 years old girl who was too young to realize the horrors around her in those final days of the conflict.
In spite of the approaching American liberating army, there are still the horrible local Fascists, who knowing they were fighting a losing battle, terrorized their neighbors into submission. These misguided people, having mined most of the houses in the town, are feared by the local population. Some flee into the countryside, but some remain in the town, convinced that being in the big church will protect them against evil.
Things go from bad to worse. We see different vignettes involving some of the people, as they cope with the situation. There is Galvano, who has loved Concetta in silence and is finally, as in a miracle, gets his wish granted in the way that she acknowledges that she has always love him, even after both have been married to different people. There's the young pregnant young bride, who is expecting and who gets married at the beginning of the film, only to be separated from her husband in an ironic twist.
The Tavianis painted a huge canvas in which they situated the action. Tuscany in the summer is a lovely place to be, but one can't even comprehend that it was also the scene for the tragedy lived in Italy in those tragic years. The music by Nicola Piovani is effective in the background. Franco DiGiacomo's photography does wonders to make the film a great experience. The large cast does an excellent job for the Tavianis, who are ultimately, the ones to thank for their courage in presenting us this lyrical movie of beauty and death.
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