The Smith Opera House's Sebastiano Lucci Classic Italian Film Series concludes this weekend with “Il Postino” (“The Postman”) a loose adaptation of Antonio Skarmeta's novel “Burning Patience,” inspired by an incident in the life of Pablo Neruda, the Chilean poet and diplomat who was briefly exiled on the Italian island of Capri. In the movie, set in the 1950s on a remote island with no running water, Neruda (Philippe Noiret) comes for temporary solace, but instead finds eternal satisfaction in a land of good-hearted, illiterate fishermen. More importantly, in Mario (Troisi) he finds a lifelong (and utterly fictional) friendship.
Not long after his arrival, the celebrated poet (a 1950s superstar) is besieged with letters, most of them from women. This volume of fan mail creates the need for a personal letter carrier. Mario, a fisherman's unemployed but literate son, applies for the job, and a special relationship begins.
Mario, who bears daily armfuls of correspondence, is awed by his single client who is awaiting—among other things—word of a possible Nobel prize. At first, he asks Neruda to autograph one of his poetry books. Then, Mario becomes increasingly courageous and inquisitive. He questions Neruda about the mystical creation of poetry. When Neruda explains “metaphor” to him with the sentence “the sky is weeping,” Mario's eyes are opened to untold possibilities.
Having just fallen in love with local bombshell Beatrice (Maria Grazia Cucinotta), who runs a restaurant and plays a mean game of table soccer, he's more than abstractly interested in the art's dramatic effects on women. Neruda, who likes this pushy but sweet local, becomes his Latin Cyrano de Bergerac and helps him with his romantic mission.
“Il Postino” will be screened at 7 p.m. Dec. 7. In Italian with subtitles, this film is rated PG. All seats are $5. Hobart and William Smith Colleges visiting professor Sebastiano Lucci will speak after the film.
The Smith Opera House is located at 82 Seneca Street in Geneva. Call 315-781-LIVE or toll-free 1-866-355 LIVE for additional information.