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A modern spin on a medieval saint – The Hollywood Reporter

For the uneducated on the Catholic saint list, Assisi boasts only one name in the family, the world famous Francis is quoted. In her latest portrait of a real-life woman, after Nico, 1988and Miss Marx, filmmaker Susanna Nicchiarelli invites us to consider another saint from that Italian town, Clare (Chiara in Italian). She is a follower of Francis, his friend, and in this story, his sometimes arch-enemy, taking questioning his conventions an even more important step. women’s autonomy. She is played by Margherita Mazzucco (Elena Greco in the series My great friend) with compassion, ferocious wit and a bit of pizazz singing and dancing, 13th century style. Because yes, Share is a musical.

Even as Nicchiarelli, her design team, and DP Crystel Fournier conjure up an ancient world, this earnest but playful portrayal of Clare, the first woman to compose a set of monastic manuals, is far from perfect. All for realism. The film breaks through the fourth wall but doesn’t quite fit the meta, with the strong-willed protagonist sometimes looking directly into the camera. This approach is likely to pull you out of the story, or at least keep you at a distance; The same goes for spontaneous choir numbers and dance sequences in the fields. But the music of Anonima Fottolisti, a band devoted to early music, is so good (think of the soothing Gregorian chant with a pop of pop) that it provides a triumphant diversion when the feeling wants the story. feel wanted.

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Key point

A harmonious combination of earnest and playful.

Location: Venice Film Festival (Competition)
Cast: Margherita Mazzucco, Andrea Carpenzano, Carlotta Natoli, Paola Tiziana Cruciani, Luigi Lo Cascio
Director and screenwriter: Susanna Nicchiarelli

1 hour 46 minutes

Besides singing, there’s definitely more to it Share than took place during the title character’s devoted life. Clare’s gimlet-eyed Clare is 18 years old when the story opens in 1211 (the movie follows 17 years into her life, and let’s just say everyone gets old, or insignificant – a nice respite compared to standard film samples and often strained to portray bygone decades). At midnight, along with her friend Pacifica (Flaminia Mancin), she leaves her well-to-do family to join Francis (Andrea Carpenzano) and his brother band. Valentino Campitelli and Luigi Vestuto impress as two of his biggest followers.

Playing a gentle hippie with sad eyes and with almost no hint of the patron saint of Italy he would become, Francis shocked the Church with his radical devotion to the poor and needy as well as denied material comforts. But he still adheres to a patriarchal attitude towards women as creatures to be protected and unable to take on the same job as his brothers. And so, after hearing their vows of poverty and chastity and cutting off their long hair, he sends Clare and Pacifica to a convent, exactly where Clare doesn’t want to go. As she predicted, the young women were instantly transformed into maids by the humorous headmistress.

However, their tenure among the nuns was rather short, and it wasn’t long before a group of women gathered around Clare, who inspired awe and love with spiritual gifts and her dedication to the teachings of Christ. The first sign of her extraordinary abilities helped her fend off a sadistic uncle. Nicchiarelli deftly arranges the suspense sequence for maximum effect.

Among Clare’s newfound sisters are Cristiana (Carlotta Natoli), whose motherhood experience is heavily linked to the stories of Mary and Jesus, and gray-haired Balvina (Paola Tiziana Cruciani), who that health issues will present special challenges and opportunities for the Clear. Her healing gifts may be focused and purposeful, but sometimes things just happen, and it surprises her as much as anyone. “Did I do a miracle?” she asked after escaping an accident that would be fatal to almost any normal person.

Before long, Clare became “Rome’s talker” with her plea to the Vatican to recognize her orders on the same basis as Francis’s. The Pope’s emissary, Cardinal Ugolino (a great Luigi Lo Cascio) affirms that “no woman can set an example for anyone”. He ramps up comic conflict when he’s back, having been promoted to pope (he’s Gregory IX) and decked out in spring blue – an eye-catching break from the series’ subdued palette. The film consists of grays, browns and ice, with green grass providing just the other brightness.

In this medieval musical, Nicchiarelli is interested in unexpected details, like when the miracle of an earthenware vase filled with olive oil sparks a lively dinner table conversation about food. eat, as if we were looking at a piece of the Medieval Cooking Channel. Francis also had his food-focused moment, enjoying a delicious local dish during his travels in the Holy Land.

Nicchiarelli’s view of the priestess is as pure as Paul Verhoeven’s 17th-century nun. Benedetta is erotic, but the filmmaker has fun with the tune and surpasses expectations. Share wandering, in ways that can be rewarding or confounding, but it loses its chance. This festive season, still in its infancy, has revealed some memorable portraits of rebellious women who question the structure of power. In Mazzucco’s noiseless, laser-focused performance, we find that it takes a tough cookie to become a saint.

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