The story of Padre Pio (1887-1968) from the onset of the stigmata during World War I, when he prayed that soldiers' suffering be his, until his death. The story is told by Emilia, Pio's ...
See full summary »
The story of Padre Pio (1887-1968) from the onset of the stigmata during World War I, when he prayed that soldiers' suffering be his, until his death. The story is told by Emilia, Pio's friend, to a Vatican official reviewing Padre Pio's potential canonization. We watch local people venerate the humble Capuchin monk, we see petty jealousies within the Church almost bring him down, and we experience his decision to build a Home for the Relief of Suffering, a labor of love begun just after World War II. Emilia and her husband Dr. Sanguineti work tirelessly beside the humble but sensible Pio.Written by
'Padre Pio: between heaven and earth (English title)' draws an adulatory portrait of the saint. The first part follows Pio (Michele Placido) as a young man- entering the Capuchin monastery at San Giovanni Rotondo, developing stigmata, and describing his grandiose vision of a 'home for the relief of suffering'. The second part portrays him in later years, building the hospital and enduring Church investigation (which included bugging his cell).
Uniting both parts is his friendship with Guglielmo Sanguinetti (Fabio Camilli), an idealistic doctor who becomes the director of the Home for the Relief of Suffering. Sanguinetti begins as an atheist- when his wife Emilia (Barbora Bobulova) insists on meeting Pio he declares: 'I'll come with you, but only as your driver.' His gradual conversion is one of the film's major themes.
'Pio' is made in the years leading up Pio's canonization, and appears an argument for sainthood. Director Giulio Base gives us a Pio who fits our expectations of a typical saint (as if such a thing can exist!) Pio suffers through endless investigation, but the very real reasons for doubt are glossed over or ignored.
'Pio' sometimes works as a narrative, but sometimes looks more like a series of vignettes- as if the director could not decide what kind of movie he wanted to make. It lacks cohesion and is painfully slow at times.
Pio's miracles are of course an important part of the movie. Stigmata and supernatural knowledge are emphasized, but bilocation is only shown once- and then only by implication.
While Michele Placido gives a strong performance I somehow doubt we are seeing the real St. Pio- a contradictory and sometimes difficult man who surrounded himself with an entourage that blurred the line between mysticism and fanaticism.
The DVD contains an afterward showing Pope Jean-Paul at Pio's canonization.
The movie is Catholic propaganda- depicting canonization as in inevitability. It paints a picture of the Catholic vision of suffering and spirituality, and its best moments are completely moving.
Pio lead a life which gives both Christians and atheists reason for doubt. This piece of hagiography has its place, but I'm waiting for a film which gives a fuller portrait of this complex man.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this