A man returns to visit his native Sicily after living in New York for a long time. He learns about the Sicilian way of life from stylized conversations with an orange picker, his fellow ...
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After making the domestic servant pregnant, a woman who doubles his age, a young man of only seventeen years from the German bourgeoisie is sent by his family to the United States in order to avoid a huge scandal.
Two segments. The first one arranges six stories from Cesare Pavese's "Dialoghi con Leucò", taken from classical mythology. The second segment is taken from Pavese's novel "La luna e i falò... See full summary »
A town in Fengjie county is gradually being demolished and flooded to make way for the Three Gorges Dam. A man and woman visit the town to locate their estranged spouses, and become witness to the societal changes.
It is late at night and a married couple has just returned home from a party, where they met a former school friend of the wife and a famous singer. The husband has been charmed by the ... See full summary »
A man returns to visit his native Sicily after living in New York for a long time. He learns about the Sicilian way of life from stylized conversations with an orange picker, his fellow train passengers, his mother, and a knife-sharpener.Written by
Pretentious movie with bad acting on a gorgeous text
"Conversazione in Sicilia" by Vittorini is one of the most interesting books of Italian literature from the 1st half of 20th century (in 1950 an edition with wonderful b/w pictures by Luigi Crescenzi was published: a real gem). The novel consists basically in dialogs between the protagonist, Silvestro, and people he meets on his voyage to his native country, Sicily, that he left years ago to live in Milan (and not in New York, as the orange seller at the beginning of the movie believes - with Silvestro indulging him in the error, by pretending he's an immigrant coming back). The dialogs oscillate between vivid descriptions of past events and philosophical considerations on good and evil or on man and world (like in the stunning dialog with the knife grinder, which seems to come out of some ancient tragedy). In the movie, however, the really bad acting spoils completely the text. If you use non professional actors, you can't expect that they will be able to render convincingly such a complex, multi-layered text as the one by Vittorini. While watching, I wondered the whole time, whether the bad acting was due to the actors' inability in memorizing their lines, to their absence of training, to their not being professionals, or to the directors' will to produce a sense of estrangement (for which I couldn't see any reason - neither artistic/aesthetic, nor textual/political). It was like they were reading the text for the firs time, without knowing where exactly to make a pause. They would stop a sentence abruptly just to re-assume it by adding a final word, as if they had just remembered that they forgot it. Again, if this was done willingly, the result was extremely annoying. The filming itself seemed to be the work of non professionals - even if the directors are indeed professionals: long takes from a running train or slow takes of a landscape with a city, with no particular artistic or aesthetic value, just something everyone holding a camera could do with no particular effort. They did nothing to conceal the fact that they were filming in present Sicily (when the train leaves Catania, you see ugly modern buildings and a freeway), even if the text is so obviously connected to the Thirties (starting with the prices and the references to the War, which is evidently WWI). I had the whole time the impression of someone deciding to make a movie by taking his/her cam-recorder and asking some friends to do the acting without rehearsals. As much as I love Vittorini's book, I really hated the movie.
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