Picks and Pans Review: The Night of the Shooting Stars
The Taviani brothers, who directed 1977's Padre Padrone and co-directed this movie, start out with an interesting situation. At the end of World War II the townspeople of San Martino, Italy are divided: Some are for the retreating Germans, others for the advancing Americans. Late one night the pro-Americans steal out of town to look for their liberators. Their adventures along the way are the real meat of the story. Unfortunately, those escapades are incoherent. Even the climactic sequence, in which the pro-Fascists and the pro-Americans fight it out in a beautiful wheat field, just adds to the confusion. There are some striking scenes. In a touchingly erotic moment, an older villager and a married woman with whom he has been in love for 40 years finally sleep together in a farmhouse while fleeing from the village. But this film mainly comes off as a pastiche of a lot of dreamlike Italian films of the '50s and '60s. The difference is that this one never wakes up. (In Italian with English subtitles) (R)
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