La Notte di San Lorenzo (Night of the Shooting Stars) (The Night of San Lorenzo) Reviews
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, The Night of San Lorenzo 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.
There are some great scenes of blocking in this movie (one that comes to mind is a mother and a priest carrying a child out of a bombed church and the way the mother looks at the priest was a great bit of nonverbal communication).
I don't think the film fully works but the story kept me intrigued enough to marginally recommend it.
La Notte di San Lorenzo 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.