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Fiorile

Director: Paolo and Vittorio Taviani


As with most films by the Italian brother Paol and Vittorio Taviani (best known for the celebrated Padre, Padrone), Fiorille is an epic tale in tehmode of ta 19th-century novel, filmed against the enchanted landscapes of the directors’ native Tuscany. Here the Tavianis travel back in tome toexplore te mement when the destiny of a single family was fixed for later generations. The film is also, in the words of the brothers, an interweaving of three love stories intended to entertain and delight. using the same actors in trans-generational roles. Fiorile’s circular structure begins and ends in the present but borrows it images from the past, telling its story through the eyes of the son of the last patriarch to live on ancestral land. The son and his family travel from their home in Paris to visit the ailing and eccentric patrefamilias, who has spent much of his life in private clinics. En route the son begins to prepare his children for the encounter by telling them of the family’s past – from the time of the Napoleonic wars, when a young girl’s love for a French solider is thwarthed by her brother’s theft of gold from the invading army’s coffers, and how the family’s precipitous rise from humble origins cast evil shadow on the Bendetti clan, earning them the nickname ‘Maldetti’ (cursed). To understand who we are we must go back to our origins, say the Tavinais, whose aim in Fiorile was to capture a present full of both pomise and peril, evolving an dnot static, illuminated by the past. Undervalued when first shown at the Cannes film festival tow years ago, Fiorile is a film of considerable elegance and humanity. The beauty of the tsucan landscape is captured in stunning photography by Giuseppe Lanci, while the poignant emotions of the characters are subtly underscored by Nicola Piovai’s characteristically lovely music. But, as one critic noted, it’s the Tavianis’ unsentimental poetic vision, seamlessly shifting between different eras, that endows the film with its own special magic and ensures that legend, finally, seems quite as real as historical reality.

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