In 1952, exiled Chilean dissident and poet Pablo Neruda traveled to Europe, where a nervous, deeply anti-Marxist Italian government tried to kick him out, eventually depositing him on the isle of Capri. That a famous Communist should have found himself living in a rich man's villa,
learning about life from the "simplest people in the world," is the arch conceit underlying this finely wrought film.
Massimo Troisi plays Mario Ruoppolo, a listless fellow who lives with his father in a tiny fishing village. Mario has never liked fishing, and at his father's urging he finally finds a job as a postman, working for the district's Postmaster (Renato Scarpa), a Marxist. His village has never before
needed a postman, but the arrival of Neruda (Philippe Noiret) has changed everything. To the shy Mario, Neruda is a charismatic but baffling figure. Only when Mario sets out to win the heart of his own Beatrice (Maria Grazia Cucinotta) does he begin to understand the real power of poetry.
Based on Burning Patience by Antonio Skarmeta, this film was a labor of love for Troisi, who sought Radford (1984, WHITE MISCHIEF) to direct and who shares a screenplay credit. The film has a gentle political edge, knocking Marxists and Christian Democrats with equal cheerfulness, and Troisi's
self-deprecating humor, sly delivery, and melancholic charm are inimitable. Troisi, who suffered from a congenital heart defect, postponed surgery to complete the film, and died the day after shooting wrapped. The actor's fate hangs over every minute of THE POSTMAN (which he shot in small bursts,
often an hour or less in a day), and necessarily frames the audience's response. When, toward the end, Mario discovers that Neruda has forgotten all about him, he shrugs it off, saying he was a fool to expect more. It is impossible to be unmoved by a dying man's despairing assumption that nobody
will remember him.
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1994
- Rating: PG
- Review: In 1952, exiled Chilean dissident and poet Pablo Neruda traveled to Europe, where a nervous, deeply anti-Marxist Italian government tried to kick him out, eventually depositing him on the isle of Capri. That a famous Communist should have found himself liv… (more)