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September 30, 2014

The Man who will Come

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b>L'Uomo Che Verra
Giorgio Diritti - 2009
Palisades Tartan Region 1 DVD

The Man who will Come might not be quite in the rarified company of Forbidden Games or Come and See, but is still an effective film about war from the point of view of a child. Diritti's film was awarded several David di Donatello Awards, Italy's equivalent to the Oscars, winning best picture against Marco Bellocchio's stunning Vincere, with Paolo Virzi's The First Beautiful Thing running close behind. Unsurprisingly, ten year old Greta Zuccheri Montanari was nominated for best actress in her debut film performance.

The film is told mostly from the point of view of Martina, a young girl, who is also mute. The film takes place in a small Italian farming village, opening in December 1943, with German soldiers occupying Italy. While Martina can not speak, she is revealed to be an eloquent writer, almost getting into trouble for an observant essay culled from the conversations heard by the adults about the different factions involved in the war, knowing that there are people called Fascists, Nazis, and Allies, but not understanding exactly who they are or why they are important. The peasants are less concerned about taking sides, then of getting by, with several joining partisan activity primarily because it means getting the Germans out of Italy.

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Shot with a digital camera, Diritti appears to have depended primarily on available light. This is especially effective with several scenes that take place with candle light. The use of light is especially important to the narrative as several scenes involve efforts by the farmers, partisans, and children, to stay hidden in darkness, whether in a farm house or in the woods. Diritti also allows for a point of view shot, with Marina partially covering her eyes while looking at the women make preparations for the birth of her baby brother.

in discussing the motivation for making The Man who will Come, Diritti was inspired by the events surrounding the massacre of civilians at Monte Sole, and how Italian cinema has avoided certain topics - ". . . Italy itself has essentially repressed the most heinous chapters. It has not come to terms with what was a civil war, albeit an undeclared one. It has preferred to make films on the stereotypes of the Resistance, or else give in to triumphalism, instead of reckoning with the many facets of history, whose memory it is important to keep alive. Especially when it comes to events such as the Monte Sole massacre. What happened 60 years ago in Italy is happening elsewhere today, and we must stay vigil so that civilians are always protected, and so that ideologies such as those that led to these massacres do not take hold."

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Posted by Peter Nellhaus at September 30, 2014 06:56 AM