A life of poetry successfully transformed to cinematic beauty and realism.
This is a breathtakingly beautiful film, doing justice both to the unfathomable tragedy of the poet and his whereabouts, character, relationships and experiences, with a fascinating conclusion in Naples of apocalyptic scenery aptly illustrating the almost Goya-like dark world of Leopardi's visionary imagination. Some of the best scenes show some of his outbursts, which pinpoint his case: at one point in a tavern he hits the nail by resoundingly demonstrating that his dark poetry has nothing to do with his terrible physical condition but is only pure poetry of the mind and nothing else. All the acting is superb, and the bold experiment of using modern music, or at least more music made today than in the 1800s, is intelligently successful. The temptation is great to give this a full 10 point score, but it's at least 9.5 for certain. At first you suspect there will be no real story, that it will be like a parallel film to the morose William Turner film earlier this year, but the story is there and gets clearer the longer the film goes on, following with overwhelming carefulness the development of Leopardi's declination with his horrible illness, almost developing into a freak, but he never falls into that trap but sustains his sovereign poetry all the way. He has been called the greatest Italian poet after Dante, and there is something to it, the beauty of his poetry contrasting sharply against its contents of mainly associating with suffering, agony and death. For all his decrepitude, his life was the more passionate, which the film carries forth with realistic style and eloquence all the way. This is a film to watch again from time to time, in spite of its increasingly excruciating pain, but once you have seen it the first time, you can the next time concentrate your attention on its poetry and beauty. The horrible invalidity is only a frame for enhancing the beauty of this life and accomplishment.
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