Francesco Rosi’s CHRIST STOPPED AT EBOLI

 

April 6 - 18, 2019

(1979) In 1935, painter, writer, doctor and anti-Fascist leader Carlo Levi (1902-1975) – played by the great Gian Maria Volontè (Rosi’s Lucky Luciano and Mattei Affair, Petri’s Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, Melville’s Le Cercle Rouge, Leone bad guy, etc.) – is exiled from Turin to Lucania, a region deep into the instep of southern Italy, a place so abject even Christ has forsaken it. In this most desolate of landscapes, existing side by side with ravishing natural beauty, he finds Gagliano, a town with one car and only one porcelain toilet; where magic spells, curative coins, and evil spirits exist side by side with Christianity – the drunken, disgraced priest denounces the locals as “donkeys, not Christians;” where cleaning lady Irene Papas (Guns of NavaroneZorba the Greek) is the only woman who can enter his house because she’s already had 17 children with 17 different men; and where, until Levi is allowed to practice, there are no competent, trusted doctors. And yet, as Levi lives among them, humanity starts to break through. Based on Levi’s best-selling 1945 memoir (still in print from FSG Classics and available at our concession). Made for Italian television in four 55-minute parts, it was cut in half for its 1980 U.S. release (to 2 hours — Rosi’s own theatrical cut was 2½) and senselessly re-titled EboliDCPApprox. 220 min, plus intermission.

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