I had the pleasure of seeing Il silenzio dell'allodola last month in Florence, Italy - in honor of the anniversary of Bobby Sands death.
The movie was the first film of the film maker David Ballerini - the technical aspects of this film showed a mastery far beyond what one would expect to see in a young directors first film. The lighting was beautiful, the composition was stunning, and the acting was - throughout - outstanding.
I was slow to warm to the performance of Ivan Franek (Bobby Sands) - but as the film progressed I became lost is his pathos, bravery, and courage. The performance by Anna Maria Gherard (Sands mother) - was simply astonishing.
One of the things I most appreciated about this film was that the characters were not - for the most part - black and white / good vs. Evil. While it is easy to portray "prisoners good / guards bad", Ballerini'a script that showed far more depth than this - these men were, for the most part all victims of an unjust political system, and this was particularly moving.
As to heavy handed religious symbolism (as stated in the review below) - I found this to be true - to a point. I didn't find it distracting, and in some senses it enhanced and universalized this story. However - the accusations of antisemitism and homophobia are unjustified and unfair.
This movie used at its core the theme of John the Baptist. In this allegory, the character of Herod was embodied by the prison warden. The prison warden had long hair and a hooked nose. Perhaps it's not widely known in the US - but big noses tend to be a rather Italian facial feature.
As to the perceived homophobia - again, I question the sensitivities of the other reviewer. This part of the story line was allegorical to Salome and the dance of the seven veils - told in an ALL MALE universe.
While Il silenzio dell'allodola is by no means a masterpiece, it is a very good movie, it honors the memory of Bobby Sands and universalizes this story to include all political prisoners throughout time. The cinematography is gorgeous, the performances excellent, and I hope to see more from this film maker in the future.
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