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The film consists of four stories plus epilogue, set in 19th-century Sicily. THE OTHER SON - A mother spends her life waiting for news from her two sons (emigrated to America) while ignoring her third, because he is the reincarnation of the bandit who raped her. MOON SICKNESS - a newly-wed peasant girl discovers that her husband goes mad every full moon. She arranges for a male friend to protect her, but they end up in bed together just as the moon emerges from behind a cloud. THE JAR - a rich landowner hires a master craftsman to repair a giant olive jar, but the craftsman gets trapped inside. REQUIEM - villagers band together in an attempt to force their landlord to let them bury their dead. CONVERSATIONS WITH MOTHER - the writer Luigi Pirandello talks with his aged mother about a story he always wanted to write, but which he never managed to capture in words.Written by
Michael Brooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Taviani Brothers evoke the mystery, drama, and stark beauty of Sicily in this wondrous three-hour film, with its four earthy stories and sublime epilogue. In "The Other Son" a demented Sicilian mother (Margarita Lozano) longs to hear from her sons who have emigrated to American and forgotten her,. Memories of a traumatic rape experience as a young woman prevent her from being able to accept the love of her only devoted son who follows her around with his cows. "Moon Sickness" tells about a young bride who discovers that her husband likes to howl at the full moon. She is not without an erotic moonsickness of her own which makes her crave sex wit her cousin when the husband is unable to perform his marital duties. "The Jar" features comedians Franco Franchi and Ciccio Ingrassia in a classic comic narrative about a mean landowner's large broken olive jar and the jar-mender who gets trapped inside and their ensuing battle of wits. "Requiem" deals with rural shepherds who want to have a graveyard to bury thir dead. In the epilogue "Conversation with Mother", we see playwright/storyteller Luigi Pirandello returning to his native Sicilian town after years of success on the mainland. He encounters the spirit of his mother who recounts a fabulous fairy-tale journey taken when she had been a child. It is a stunning twenty-minute sequence that must surely rank with the best moments in the history of Italian cinema. The images of the children rolling down the mountain of pumice on the "Pumice Island" are of a poetic lyric intensity. The shot of Pirandello sitting silently in the chair that no longer contains the mother he had been speaking to is also utterly moving. Nicola Piovani's passionate and transporting musical score (he would later do the music for LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL)adds immeasurably to the the experience of this powerful work of art.
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