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Socrates (1971)

Socrate (original title)
A false accusation leads the philosopher Socrates to trial and condemnation in 4th century BC Athens.

Director:

Roberto Rossellini

Writers:

Roberto Rossellini (treatment), Maria Grazia Bornigia (treatment) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Jean Sylvère Jean Sylvère ... Socrate
Anne Caprile Anne Caprile ... Santippe (as Anna Caprile)
Giuseppe Mannajuolo Giuseppe Mannajuolo ... Apollodoro (as Bepy Mannaiuolo)
Ricardo Palacios ... Critone
Elio Seraffini Elio Seraffini ... Prete
Julio Morales Julio Morales ... Antistene
Emilio Miguel Hernández Emilio Miguel Hernández ... Meleto
Emilio Hernández Blanco Emilio Hernández Blanco ... Ipperide
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Paco Catalá Paco Catalá ... Lisyas
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Storyline

A false accusation leads the philosopher Socrates to trial and condemnation in 4th century BC Athens.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | History

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Details

Country:

Italy | Spain | France

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

17 June 1971 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Socrates See more »

Filming Locations:

Spain

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Socrate: Traditions make sense only insofar as we can evaluate their meaning. We must distrust custom. Chosen at random by custom, the leaders of our democracy, almost all of them ignorant men with a presumption of knowledge, are easy prey for any newcomer and are often guilty of being unjust. That is why we can measure, each day, the power of slander.
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User Reviews

The embodied reason
20 April 2014 | by chaos-rampantSee all my reviews

I have previously discussed Rossellini's work on metaphysics; Stromboli (suffering), La Paura (desire), St. Francis (selflessness - meant in the Buddhist way), Viaggio (memory and self).

All of them sparse, ascetic works that take a transparent look at what informs self and put him on my list of important makers. I turn to his historic work from a later period hoping to find the continuation of that journey.

The first thing to say is that Rossellini's turn from (all else aside) an aesthetic cinema to the encyclopedic mode shows an aging man's desire to educate. The loss is that we have the words, the lecture, but not the visual embodiment (not talking about conventional beauty) that in Viaggio paved the way for Antonioni.

The second is to see what the film isn't; there's no drama to speak of, no passion or anxiety that perturbs, it's a practical unfolding of one man's challenge to his own self to embody his beliefs. To clarify: it's not that there isn't drama around the man, it actually has the most dramatic conflict, the trial. It's that Socrates is not swept in it: and this is the point of the film.

In Anglo hands the film would be much like any of those on Jesus, with much torment and lachrymose redemption. None of that here; Socrates refusal to commute death for exile or escape from prison is not a mute idealism, he grounds why it's not an option as a practical matter: it makes sense. There's a funny scene where he's scolded by his wife for being a no good man-about-town who doesn't bring in any money.

Then to see what it actually is. It's a grounded search for reason, though the important distinction is made from mere intellectualism; not words on paper, dead language that you can't interrogate, but the living reason that is in touch with an 'inner voice' and actively searches for truth. An effort for relative truth, clarity as drawing limits on what we are able to say instead of presuming to say anything.

So not any reason, it's why Socrates rejects the orator who would defend him in court with flattery. It's clear that when he talks of knowledge he means skiing on what's possible to know and not just knowing trivia or nice expression. Rossellini grounds the questioning search in an embodied understanding of god as everything we see, which Socrates' opponents satirize him about as talking about the clouds.

All around him however we see tyranny, ego and ignorance, so how is any of this to take root in daily life?

The powerful admission is that you have to make life out of it, embody. Not just say things then when it's not convenient to follow through do something else, that way life becomes meandering rationalization. 'Make it, don't fake it'. No easy thing, therein lies the adventure.


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