Il Postino: The Postman (Il Postino)
Release Year: 1994
Directors: Michael Radford, Massimo Troisi (uncredited)
Writers: Anna Pavignano (screenplay), Michael Radford (screenplay), Furio Scarpelli (screenplay & story), Giacomo Scarpelli (screenplay & story), Massimo Troisi (screenplay), Antonio Skármeta (based on his 1985 novel Ardiente paciencia)
Starring: Massimo Troisi, Philippe Noiret, Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Renato Scarpa, Linda Moretti
Rating: Won 1 Oscar: Best Score. Nominated for 4 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Massimo Troisi), Best Adapted Screenplay.
The humble Mario (Massimo Troisi) gets a job as a postman whose job is to deliver mail to the famous poet Pabloe Neruda (Philippe Noiret) who is living in exile on a small Italian island. He befriends the famous poet and uses his new knowledge of poetry to woo ocal beauty, Beatrice (Maria Grazia Cucinotta).
This charming Italian film might sound like a version of Cyrano de Bergerac, in which a localman is helped by a famous poet to get the attention of the woman he has fallen in love with. But Il Postino is so much more; partly a fictional account the exile of famous Chilean poet Pablo Neruda in 1952, partly a film about friendship, but above all a film about poetry. The story focusses on Mario, played wonderfully by the tragically short-lived Massimo Troisi (Che ora è, 1989), and his relationship with Neruda and how that friendship changes him and a small group of local on the impoverished Italian island. Whether it changes Neruda as well is a more open question. It touches lightly on Neruda’s Communism (which the film treats in a very friendly way), to which Mario is attracked because he wants to see conditions improve for ordinary working people. The film sings with poetry, helped along by great performances and beautiful scenery, its humour in subtle, and it has surprisingly effective emotional punch. Highly recommended to anyone with a sense for the poetry of nature and human existence.
Writer/co-director/actor Massimo Troisi postponed heart surgery in order to finish the film. He died of a heart attack the day after filming ended. He later became one of seven actor to receive a posthumous Oscar nomination.
Picture Copyright: Buena Vista