La Notte di San Lorenzo (Night of the Shooting Stars) (The Night of San Lorenzo)

1982

La Notte di San Lorenzo (Night of the Shooting Stars) (The Night of San Lorenzo)

Critics Consensus

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77%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 13

75%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 844
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Movie Info

In Tuscan lore, the evening of August 10th is la notte di san lorenzo (the night of the shooting stars). Each of these stars is believed to grant one wish. In this celebrated film by Italy's Taviani brothers, a woman asks for the words to tell her son about that same night during the last days of World War II. The Nazis occupied Italy and the fascists had mined her small Tuscan village of San Martino. Skeptical of the fascists' promise that all peasants will be safe in San Martino's cathedral, a group of villagers opt to leave and search for the Italian partisans and advancing American forces. Among those to depart is the woman, then only six years old. La Notte di San Lorenzo is the story of the villagers' remarkable exodus, the fate of those left behind, and the partisan struggle against fascism -- lyrically intertwined with their thoughts, loves, fears, and memories, as well as the fantasies of a young girl experiencing the tragedy she perceives to be her greatest adventure.

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Critic Reviews for La Notte di San Lorenzo (Night of the Shooting Stars) (The Night of San Lorenzo)

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (3)

  • Although it spins in circles for too long before its climactic wheat-field shoot out, no other Taviani brothers film so vividly captures the prevailing ethos of their life's work: "Living may be tragic," Vittorio once said, "but life isn't."

    Aug 13, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    David Ehrlich

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani have brought a sense of premorality both to the composition of the images and the shape of the narrative.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • It's a bit long-winded, melodramatic, and meandering. Still, like a verismo opera, it sweeps us along, leaving us as forlorn as Galvano when the world returns to normal.

    Sep 19, 2019 | Full Review…
  • The film never loses its collective nature even if it sporadically focuses on the experiences of some of the characters that are depicted with fondness. [Full Review in Spanish]

    Aug 27, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Lyricism, poetry, brutality, reality, fantasy; mixed and slowly stirred, make for a special mood

    Jan 23, 2009 | Full Review…
  • One of the greatest films of the 1980s.

    Apr 17, 2008 | Rating: 5/5

Audience Reviews for La Notte di San Lorenzo (Night of the Shooting Stars) (The Night of San Lorenzo)

  • Jun 04, 2014
    Since the overwhelming masterpiece <i>Allonsanfàn</i> (1974), the underrated Taviani brothers began to acquire international reputation from critics and film festivals alike in a positively increasing trend, including Cannes. However, along with this trend, their stories somehow began to become simpler as well. That is not necessarily a bad thing given the quality of their films, but the auteur signature began to become lost gradually. In simplicity lies complexity, a fact that sensitive people seem to comprehend. The premise of the plot, as stated before, is simple. The complexity lies in its layers of humanity, and this retelling of the "night of San Lorenzo, the night in which dreams come true", makes a fascinating contrast between contradictory themes: family, war, human tragedies, the futility of violence, sexual innocence, the Catholics and the Fascists, the old and the young ones... The way Italian cinema addresses family bonds and nostalgic autobiographical stamps throughout, which give hints of the past of the filmmakers, is something unparalleled. That has been their expertise, and remains to be today. Such emphasis on what defines us as "human" from both the positive and the negative connotations is so moving and thought-provoking, that their constant blasts of sexuality, implicit or graphic, can be forgiven, even if they contribute to the plot or the characters around 65% of the times. A very recommended viewing from the Taviani brothers who were still satisfying the expectations of Cannes, <i>The Night of San Lorenzo</i> treats war with an enthusiasm humanly impossible to have during such tumultuous times, with an enchanting perspective that borders on fantasy, sometimes satirical, even if doubtfully comedic during a few segments, which delivers what it promises. 86/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • May 07, 2009
    A group of Italian villagers struggle to survive the final days of WWII, battling Nazi sympathizers and anxiously awaiting the arrival of the American soldiers who will liberate them. <i>La Notte di San Lorenzo</i> is a good film that may have been great had it be given a larger budget. For example, the highly anticipated American army is represented by a whopping TWO soldiers (neither of which ever utter a word), war planes are heard but never seen, an explosion in the church is represented by loud sound effects and a little smoke coming out of the door, etc., etc., etc... Still, you have to credit the Taviani brothers for making the most of what they had and giving us a film that seems to live well beyond it's means.
    Randy T Super Reviewer
  • Jun 06, 2007
    this movie has action, tragedy, war, humor, love, lust, history, fairy tales, heroes, blissful children, time-chastened old folks, prayers & desperate wishes, class conflict, (meaningful) politics, cold-blooded murder, tarnished violence for freedom, and the heritage of every kind of Italian movie
    Adam M Super Reviewer

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