Venice, the last shame: the shock film about Padre Pio

Venice, the last shame: the shock film about Padre Pio

Bruna Magi

It is the film that made exist Shia LaBeouf, who in recent years had not led a life of his own as a saint. Let’s talk about Father Piodirected by Abel Ferrara and world-premiered at the Venice Film Festival, Days of the Authors. It is he who dares the face of Pio da Pietrelcina, aka Francesco Forgione, and in truth he has a softer and more seductive face than that of the saint of San Giovanni Rotondo. Shia was throwing away his life and career, stories of drugs and violence in series, when Ferrara’s proposal arrived, he was struck by the role and converted. Miracles of Padre Pio. When we see him arrive on horseback in San Giovanni Rotondo, a young friar who has been discharged, to take on the role of presbyter in the convent, he is tender. We observe him pray, suffer in the night clashes with the forces of evil, the demons that haunted him, then receive the stigmata that had torn Christ’s hands, but in the film by Abel Ferrara the enormous dimension of the character that attracts millions of people does not emerge. it is as if blurred in the context of what is happening in a historical-political key.

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LIKE SCRAP – We are at the end of the First World War, the veterans are returning home, those few who were saved on the Karst front. It was an unprecedented massacre in the history of the world, the survivors are miserable remains of men, those who have lost a limb, those who are reduced to ce, those who have been struck by tuberculosis, those who have serious psychological problems. It tightens my heart, to see their women who have been waiting for them at any cost, happy to have them back even if they look like scrap. It is urgent to get back to work, families are hungry, but existence, for glorious veterans, consider heroes, is as hard as when they left. In order to survive, some pass over to the side of the “bosses”, in the role of the guardians of their goods. Those who work in the fields have a terrible life, they dig out the stones with their hands, they carry them on carts, they collapse under the weight of fatigue. One of them dies and the Apulian landowners demand that it not be said so as not to cause riots and rebellions. The poor people form a square around an illuminated doctor, it is a great flowering of red flags, the socialist ones that, before the Livorno split, still flaunted the hammer and sickle. Those were terrible times, all right, but the viewer invoked a curious sensation in the Ferrara film: the almost “non-presence” of Padre Pio, busy with his demons and with the confessions that were all there. The title of the film bears his name, but he becomes little more than a cameo in the historical-political context. He is an evanescent figure even in the guise of a thaumaturge that the world has recognized, including John Paul IIyou do not notice the symbolic scent of roses and violets, the multiplication of miracles, you hardly notice a poor cripple who gets up in the dark and walks after meeting.

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THE EXECIDE – Not to mention themassacre of San Giovanni Rotondo. That of October 14, 1920, when the socialists, after winning the elections, wanted to enter the Town Hall to place their flag on the balcony, but the carabinieri were deployed to prevent it. The demonstrators advanced and the order to shoot was given, fourteen people died, including a carabiniere, and sixty were wounded. Afterwards Padre Pio was accused of being with the so-called “Arditi neri” in the massacre of San Giovanni: this was supported by the newspaper The Avanti, at a time when a persecution was underway against Padre Pio, who was accused of immorality, profiteering and persecution. He was also accused of being the inspirer of a political party called “Arditi di Cristo”, later called “Arditi neri”, because they wore a pennant of that color. In reality it seems that they never existed. What is perplexing in the film is the fact that Padre Pio appears to be far from the drama and worries why theadvent of the socialists will empty the churches. At certain moments one thinks that the problem does not interest him that much, while from the human point of view and that of the Catholic faith, he should have dealt with it. Abel Ferrara says he made the film in the name of his indisputable charisma. But the feeling remains that in the script the saint is “something more” to tell the massacre of San Giovanni Rotondo. The saint crushed by the impending red flags.


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Giulio Bucchi

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