When, in 1952, the exiled Chilean poet and diplomat Pablo Neruda (Noiret) takes up residence in a house on a quiet little island off the Neapolitan coast, the fan mail he receives is so copious that the postmaster hires Mario (Troisi), the none too bright son of a local fisherman, to deliver the celebrity's mail. At first, Mario is simply star-struck by Neruda, who responds with understandable wariness to the postman's gauche attempts at conversation; soon, however, he's teaching Mario about metaphors, and when the postman falls for Beatrice (Cucinotta), a lovely but rather aloof barmaid, the poet agrees to try to help him win her with words. Inspired by an incident in Neruda's life, the story's engaging blend of easy humour and sunny romance takes hold from the start and never lets go. Much of its seductive charm derives from the excellence of the leads: Noiret does his gruff but malleable turn to perfection, while Troisi (who died soon after filming finished) exudes a simplicity of heart, mind and soul that never seems excessively sentimental. Mercifully, Radford avoids making the small peasant community too glamorously Arcadian. Old-fashioned it may be, but it knocks the spots off pap like Cinema Paradiso.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Furio Scarpelli, Giacomo Scarpelli, Massimo Troisi, Michael Radford, Anna Pavignano|
Maria Grazia Cucinotta