L'uomo che verrà (2009) Poster

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Wonderful Italian Historical Film
Ben Huober20 May 2010
I saw "L'uomo che verrà" in a small theater in Florence, Italy last February.

One of the beautiful things about the film is that it will appeal to various audiences in very different, albeit powerful ways. It was related to me that the historical events portrayed and implied by the film are quite accurate, so locals from the mountains above Bologna or history buffs won't feel disappointed by an inaccurate rendition. Depending on their demographic other Italians should either be able to sympathize or empathize with characters in the movie as well. For viewers that are not European, I can confidently say that they will find themselves presented with an old theme (Nazi occupation and brutality) delivered in a novel and unique theatrical vessel.

Additionally, the cinematography is wonderful. I truly did feel as if I was in the countryside with the characters of the movie being terrorized by a foreign occupying force.

As a side note, the movie is in a dialect that most Italians will not even understand. With the good subtitles, I felt that it actually added to the movie's appeal.
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We're not in Hollywood anymore
am080728 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Between September 29 and October 5 1944 on Monte Sole, an area of the Appenine Mountains near Bologna, S.S. Officer Weder reported "the execution of 728 bandits." These "bandits" were in fact around 770 civilian inhabitants of the area - women, priests, the elderly, and over two hundred children - who were systematically killed by the local SS troops in a sweeping reprisal for partisan activity in the area. "L'Uomo Che Verrà" ("The Man Who Will Come") re-enacts the event through the eyes of a young girl who observes the world in silence.

Working oneself up to seeing such a film is nearly always a task - we know how it will end, and we know it will be devastating. But as the beginning of the film focuses on the everyday lives of Martina (a little girl gone mute ever since her baby brother died in her arms) and her family, one almost forgets the film's grim destination. Almost.

The film is fanatically, sometimes brutally, devoted to portraying real life. There are no heroes (except for perhaps Martina herself), and very few clear villains (except for perhaps one or two of the SS who mark themselves out); there is no love story, and, eventually, no easy release from the horror. The partisans are neither heroic saviors nor selfish bandits; merely men who are waging battle against the invaders, sometimes committing ugly acts as a matter of course. The colors in the cinematography sometimes resemble old photographs, the clothes are dirty, torn, and in the case of the little girl, almost outgrown, and, realistically, nearly all the dialog is spoken in Bolognese dialect, which is so foreign from standard Italian that nearly the entire movie is subtitled in Italian for the benefit of audiences on the rest of the peninsula.

It is also beautiful. The cinematography shows the Appenines in all their green, stark glory, and the moments of happiness and peace and laughter that the family find even in wartime, though they contribute to the realism rather than soften it, render the film bearable and lend it beauty.

While we in the Western hemisphere are aware of the horrors of Holocaust, Normandy, and war the Pacific, the ugly and frequently horrifying Italian front has long gone ignored or forgotten. Once this film is released with English subtitles, with any luck, this omission might be remedied.
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WWII as it was in Italian mountains
Dubh31 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I have been urged by a friend to go and watch this "masterpiece" - his expression - and rarely I have received such a sound advice.

"L'uomo che verrà" is a compelling tale, one bathed in the memories of many people who still remember the horrors of WWII through family stories. It is also a neorealist work of art, delicately balanced between the crudity of war and the simple life of peasants, ordered by the rhythm of the seasons and their deep Catholic faith. The arrival of war in their life is at first slow, but it accelerates towards the tragical end. The massacre of Marzabotto (as it is still known) is one of the tragedies of Italian war: here it is told through the point of view of a small girl, who is able to save her newborn brother (the man who will come, as the title says, pointing to future generations). The way she looks at the tragedy unfolding before her eyes becomes our point of view: the same happens with the others. Diritti knows how to tell the history of the massacre without letting us feel righteous: compassion for the victims comes first.

It is a work of love, which excels for lyrical realism and historical balance. I recommend it to anyone who wants to keep remembering what has been done in the name of hate.
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Powerful true-life war drama
nmegahey18 April 2018
It's a bit of a challenge to take on and get across the full impact of the Marzabotto massacre, the worst war-time atrocity committed in Italy during WWII, and director Giorgio Diritti takes a bit of a risk in L'uomo che verrà (The Man who will Come) by viewing events from the perspective of an 8 year old girl. The approach however neither shies away from the very real horror of the events of September 1944 nor sentimentalises them, but presents the story in a shockingly realistic and matter-of-fact way.

Life in the Monte Sole region of Italy, in the mountains south of Bologna, is difficult enough for the inhabitants of the small farming community in the winter of 1943. The work is hard, the people live in poverty and are put under further strain by the taxes and regulations of the fascist government. The pact between Mussolini and Hitler however has just broken down and the German troops who patrol the region have suddenly become a more threatening presence.

For the first half of the film we only get a sense of this from the perspective of Martina, an 8 year old girl. Unaware of what is really going on, her view is one of an innocent gradually coming to an awareness of the nature of the world. No longer speaking since the death of her baby brother, Martina is a silent witness to the world around her, to the struggle to survive. Most of her experiences are typical of childhood; she's bullied at school, is gradually becoming aware of what goes on between men and women, and is looking forward to her mother giving birth to a new baby.

On the other hand, Martina also experiences horrors no child should ever be expected to witness. She sees German troops ambushed and prisoners being executed in the woods, hears the bombardment of Bologna, and experiences first-hand the events of the 28th and 29th September 1944 when she is rounded up with the other villagers by a Waffen SS unit. Accused of sheltering the Partisan units hiding out in the woods who have been attacking their patrols, the SS brutally execute around 770 citizens of Marzabotto; men, women and children alike.

This horrifying true-life event is filmed by director Giorgio Diritti without sentimentality and without exaggeration and it's all the more shocking for it. Despite the necessity of having to create a fictional family and present a child-like narrative viewpoint as a way to navigate through the events, L'uomo che verrà nonetheless is unmanipulative and has an authentic feel for the period, the poverty and the hardship experienced, sparing the viewer little of the horror of what really happened in the region in 1944. L'uomo che verrà won the Best Film award in Italy's 2010 David di Donatello awards.
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A beautiful depiction of the horror of war
BaronVonCount17 October 2017
This movie is mostly seen through the eyes of the young girl, Martina, who along with the other children provides a depth of innocence which is the counterpoint to the ice-cold brutality of an invading army. The various viewpoints and behaviour of the diverse groups: villagers - old and young; partisans living in the woods;the clergy; the invading forces with their various levels of humanity from ruthless soldiers whose souls are dead to those who can't help but feel compassion for the people they are invading, never seem clichéd even though they may be in so many war movies. This is simply humanity at war, portrayed clearly and credibly without the slightest pretence. The cinematography, direction and acting are supremely natural, creating a fine, memorable movie.
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beautifully shot historical events
SnoopyStyle12 August 2016
It's Dec 1943 in rural Italy. Martina is a young girl who has stopped talking. The other kids pick on her. Her mother is pregnant after the lost of her baby brother. Her family works the family farm living under the Nazi occupation. Some of the villagers support the Partisans led by Wolf. The fighting between the Partisans and the Nazis escalate. The Germans round up the locals and massacre them. Martina survives the mass killings and find her newborn brother as the historical event takes place.

This takes a lesser known story, outside of Italy, and brings it onto the big screen from the point of view of a child. It is beautifully shot. The story meanders early on but the little girl is compelling enough to keep it interesting. The massacre itself is a rolling train of horrifying events. It's important to tell the tale and this does a good job doing it with beauty and sincerity.
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Two incompatible aims.
Matt Kies12 January 2010
"The Man Who Will Come" is a drama set in an Italian's region, the Romagna (and not the Tuscany, although many shots come from there), during the II world war. The movie tells an interesting and cruel episode of the passing of the front in Italy: the Slaughter of Marzabotto, a dreadful tragedy, which becomes greater because of the number of children involved (more than two hundreds less-twelve-years-old children). This is the reason for the title, something like a dedication of the movie to children ("The Man Who Will Come" is a baby who survives to tragedy, he represents the generations of tomorrow), and in order to make stronger this connection history-childhood, a female child who doesn't speak is the protagonist of the movie. Director's aims, when he decides to coming this project, as he said recently, were two: to bring the spectator in a time travel, in a reality unknown for many people, and to narrate the war from the child's point of view. Probably, with this movie he reached to bring the spectator in the past (the choice to use the dialect, as Visconti's La Terra Trema, gives more realism to the narration, and makes the movie more eclectic than the others with the same themes; the care for details, from the lights to the clothes, is almost obsessive) but I think the point of view of the young female is just a little part of the movie: final point of view is quite objective, because there are many points of view, and this gives the taste of a good historical reconstruction. To say that this movie shows the war from the child's point of view is probably reductive, or just wrong: a movie which shows the point of view of a child in some historical period is very different from this work. Result? Nice job, but it's impossible to have an historical reconstruction of facts through a subjective point of view or, if it's possible, this movie couldn't reach it.
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Old wine new bottles
sfviewer1234 June 2010
Despite being beautifully shot and well-made (and a few well-done scenes such as the skirmish and execution of a captured German soldier) this one's pretty much a dud...deals with historical events with which most non-Italians are probably not familiar (German atrocities against Italian civilians during the latter half of WWII) but other than cinematically treating a new chapter in that era's history the film doesn't have much to offer, mainly because it uncritically relies on the default narrative/theme for movies on the general subject of WWII in Europe (Germans/Nazis=bad/evil (irrational obsessive homicidal nationalist maniacs), everyone else=good).

I guess the size and/or "taste" of the "American" market has to be mentioned as the primary reason many non-American directors find it difficult to make films with moral complexity beyond the imagination of a three-year old? (To give one potential example, (Italian) communist partisans would sometimes ambush German units while the latter were in regions known to be pro-fascist/Mussolini, in the hopes that the Germans were enact reprisals against the local civilians, whom the communists hated as much or more than the Nazis (people often hate those closer to them than those far away)--but would an Italian director dare make such a film? Apparently not.)

Edit: To be fair there were a couple of minor details in this direction, such as the SS man who was unable to fire the heavy machine gun and the officer who helped the woman who survived the mass shooting (although that was kind of bizarre itself). But larger themes, such as why was the German presence so bad that the villagers were willing to risk their families to try to get rid of it (all the Germans seemed to do was ask for wine and then pay for it) were lacking. Also the depiction of the Italian civilians was radically naive--were they all really just simple happy country folk who cared only for food, family and Catholicism? Such stereotypes are themselves infantilizing.
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