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March 09, 2007

Il Postino - 4

The director of this film was not sure what this film was about before starting the project, it seems. The plot goes this way and that, and never finds a good thread. It tries to be a romantic comedy for a bit, initially using the exile of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda as a plot device. Turns out that the film is about the impact of communism and its interaction with art in 1950's Italy. Neruda stays on the Island of Capri in the small town and his postman. Mario, strikes up a relationship with him. Neruda teaches Mario how to use metaphor and write poetry in order to win the town beauty. In the process Mario is inspired by the poet to a new way of seeing the living in the world. The film ends on a sad note, as Mario takes on the consequences that Neruda was able to escape from. A slow moving film, that pulled Oscar heart strings in 1996, winning for music and nominated for best picture, director, actor, and screenplay.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks! Excellent analysis. Until you wrote that the movie couldn't find a good thread I couldn't decide why I didn't like it. Then I go back to my usual ultimatum criteria -- I just didn't care about the characters. But why didn't I? B/c, as you say, the movie first tried to sell them as romantic comedians, then tried to pull off tragedic consequence. Resulting in lack of credibility, a feeling of shallow formulaic plot and characterisation. I am in America now b/c I lived nearly 3 years in that incredibly beautiful part of Italy -- Capri and the adjacent Amalfi coast. The water really is that crystal azure shade of blue and you can see the yellow sandy bottom thirty feet down -- it's almost impossible not to fall in love there, on film or in life. That was the best bit of the movie for me -- the scenery. But although I am easily distracted by beauty of any kind, in this film's case, the LOCATION at least might have saved the less than charismatic acting, the choppy, directionless and generic "romance/tragedy in Italy?" plot. But your analysis has helped me realize why nothing could save this clunker. It never knew where it was going -- and by the time it was through, we did'nt give a shit either. The movie, in short, was way too much like life -- started out seeming to be one thing, became another, changed from that, and then -- they all died. Oh.

Consolation: -- a song:

"Everything comes and goes
Marked by lovers
And styles of clothes
Things that you held high and told yourself were true
Lost or changing as the days come down to you...

In the morning there are lovers in the streets
They look so high
You brush against a stranger and you both apologize
Old friends seem indifferent
You must have brought that on
Old bonds are broken down
Love is gone
Written on your spirit this sad song

Everything comes and goes
Pleasure moves on too early
And trouble leaves too slow
Just when you're thinkin you finally got it made
Bad news comes knockin at your garden gate
Knocking for you
Constant stranger
You're a brute
You're an angel
You can crawl
You can fly too
It all comes down to you."

from a song? on Court and Spark by
Joni Mitchell