La Notte di San Lorenzo (Night of the Shooting Stars) (The Night of San Lorenzo) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

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

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½ January 4, 2016
[recently screened at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, January 2, 2016]. Too late to be a neorealist film, and too early and too 80's to be as stark as anything by Matteo Garrone (Gamorrah, 2008), this is a nostalgic tale of a band of Italian peasants fleeing and resisting fascism in 1944. That they await the Americans makes you wonder if any US-interested parties had some skin in the production game. It's not that the film is necessarily bad, as much as it has no felt electrical charge. You can skip this one.
Super Reviewer
June 4, 2014
Since the overwhelming masterpiece Allonsanfŗn (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, 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.

February 6, 2013
The unbearable lightness of human barbarity. Great film!
January 18, 2013
Extraordinary movie telling the story of the escape from San Martino by a handful of citizens and their confrontation with Mussolini's fascists at the end of WW2, seen through the eyes of the 6yo Cecelia. Whimsical, amusing, tense and sometimes brutally realistic, this film is shot through with sadness but also at times indescribable beauty.
September 22, 2012
In the final days of the Second World War, a group of Italian villagers try to dodge the Nazis, Fascists and Partisans and survive long enough to be liberated by the Allies.
August 11, 2012
It takes over an hour for this uneasy mix of the practical and the fantastic, the dreamy and the blunt, to gel enough to worry about what happens next.
April 16, 2012
A masterpiece, truly.
December 17, 2011
Some really good bits in a gentle rather old fashioned film. The climactic battle scene in the Tuscan fields, as civilians seeking the Allies meet fascist militia in what is basically a civil war, are able to chill the heart even though the film is not terribly smooth and modern in many ways.
December 4, 2011
This film embraces a sort of fantastical realism like I have never seen - it's a recap of Nazi occupied Italy towards the end of World War II but told from the perspective of a narrator who was six year old at the time; while generally shot in a very minimalist/naturalist fashion, embracing the environment, all of the exaggerated eccentricities, daydreams, and fantasies of a child remain intact, blurring the distinction, at times, between the authentic and the surreal, the endearing and the traumatic. August 10th, La notte di san Lorenzo, is a night in which every shooting star is worth one wish. Although the narrator is granted her wish after seeing one of the great burning streaks across the horizon - to be able to put her childhood experience into words for her own child - can she harvest the insight necessary to ease her worries regarding the tumultuous socio-political circumstances in Italy? The film doesn't answer this question; we are left watching the evening sky, waiting for another flash of light to blur by, waiting for another wish.
October 22, 2011
Vackert berättat om människoöden under slutet av WW2 i Italien. Ingen munter historia, men stillsamt och närmast poetiskt skildrad. Bröderna Taviani kan sin sak!
April 28, 2011
A woman tells her child about how she travelled with a group of Italians to find American soldiers during WWII and how they evaded the Nazis.
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).
March 18, 2011
I keep thinking I'll run out of WWII movies in the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list, but I think I have about 200 left.
August 10, 2010
(***): Thumbs Up

I don't think the film fully works but the story kept me intrigued enough to marginally recommend it.
March 7, 2010
In the final days of the Second World War, a group of Italian villagers try to dodge the Nazis, Fascists and Partisans and survive long enough to be liberated by the Allies.
January 22, 2010
I like the idea -- kind of a magic realism re-working of Paisa -- but something about the execution bugged me. The ironic detachment creates an air of forced quaintness, and as much as I liked the characters (and the actors), I never got very engaged. The charming scenes were charming, but scenes that should have been moving or tragic mostly left me cold. Also the use of wipes was rather distracting. Still I find it difficult to be too harsh with a film so heartfelt and bittersweet in spirit.
October 24, 2009
Besides the battle field scene...not very memorable.
½ September 5, 2009
I loved this movie, life goes on, that's what I got from it. Life goes on.
½ July 12, 2009
A beautiful haunting story told through the eyes of a young girl - the story of the liberation of an Italian village in WW2. There are some wonderful dreamlike moments amongst the barbarity and brutality of what is a war story - Italians not only fearful of the nation occupying their country, but also of their own countrymen.
Super Reviewer
July 6, 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.

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.
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