An anti-fascist doctor/painter is exiled to a remote Southern Italian village, where life is tough but noble. He begins to learn the beauty of simple living.
Francesco rosi’s measured treatise on the insularity of southern Italy in the mid-’30s revives the neo-realist spirit with which he was suffused while he worked with Luchino Visconti. As the intellectual banished to a backwater in mountainous Lucania, Gian Maria Volonté delivers an Olivier-like performance of gruff compassion, as he comes to empathise with the peasants whom he initially thought beneath him.
Irene Papas and Paolo Bonacelli also impress, as Volonté’s proud housekeeper and the village’s genial mayor. But it’s Rosi’s grasp of place and his shrewd dissection of fascism that gives the film its power.
Compelling performances and powerful direction in this Italian period piece,