Film Friday: Il Postino

Il Postino 5Il Postino, The Postman, is about love — love of a woman, love of poetry and love of words.

Set on a tiny Italian island, where fresh water is delivered by supply ship, the film centers on Mario Ruoppolo, Massimo Troisi’s last film role. Mario is the shy son of a fisherman, who detests fishing. Instead, he finds a part time job delivering fan mail to the renowned Chilean poet and dissident, Pablo Neruda, who has been exiled to a remote cottage on Mario’s remote island.

An unlikely friendship develops between the world-famous poet and tongue-tied Mario, opening a new world of literature and metaphor for the timid, part time postman. The two have a wonderful exchange sitting on the beach, where Neruda quotes a few lines from his poem “Ode to the Sea” and asks Mario what he thinks.

THE POSTMAN“Mario: I can’t expIain it. I feIt llke…llke a boat tossing around on those words.

Neruda: Like a boat tossing around on my words? Do you know what you’ve done, Mario?

Mario: No, what?

Neruda: You’ve invented a metaphor.”

Il Postino 2Eventually, Mario asks Neruda to help him find the words to woo the exquisite Beatrice, played by Maria Grazia Cucinotta.

Il Postino is a beautiful film that celebrates language, letters and love. The actor Troisi was so committed to the project that he postponed heart surgery and died of a heart attack the day after filming his last scene.

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