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Fiorile Review

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★★★★★

To amuse his children on the long drive to his father's home in Tuscany, Luigi Benedetti (Lino Capolicchio) recounts the local myths surrounding the family name and the distant origins of their ill-gotten wealth.The first of his three neatly performed yarns begins during Napoleon's occupation of Tuscany when handsome, child-of-the-revolution Lieutenant Jean (Vartan) is custodian of a shipment of gold coins bound for the front line and encounters dusky Tuscan peasant, Elisabetta (Ranzi). The couple instantly fall in love and while they're off doing their bit for Franco-Italian relations, Elisabetta's brother Corrado (Bigagli) spies the gold and decides to help himself. The Lieutenant is hauled in front of a court martial, found guilty, and Elisabetta swears bloody vengeance on those responsible. A family curse is thus born, casting its long shadow over her descendants.

A century later, events of tale two mirror the first as the Benedetti's prise their sister Elisia from the clutches of her peasant lover to tragic results. And finally the curse follows Mattimo, grandson of Elisia, into a major spot-of-bother with the Nazis in World War II. A rambling epilogue involving the present day family strains between Luigi and his father, who is still tormented by his wartime run-in with the family curse, spins the format out too long for its own good, but this doesn't undermine the film's fundamental merit. Unassuming and modest in its aims, there is a fairy-tale quality to this that, allied to the grand passions and furies stirred up in three torrid tales of hot blooded Italians at love and war, is quite enchanting.

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