Monday, August 23, 2010

Roberto Rossellini - Socrate (1970)

"Defiantly and majestically cinema à la Rossellini" (Andrew Sarris), Socrates was a film Rossellini had wanted to make since the early Fifties. The film brilliantly recreates ancient Athens and the last days of the orator and philosopher with whom the director clearly identified. (Massimo Olmi's touching account of the shooting of the film ends with this telling observation: "Patriarch Rossellini, patriarch Socrates, both absorbed in the difficult delivery of Truth," which is echoed in Michael McKegney's review of the film in The Village Voice: "Two great men separated by so many centuries seem to speak with one voice to a race which controls the atom and the atmosphere but seems to have forgotten why: 'Know thyself.'") Rossellini's serene, sometimes shocking account of Socrates' life and philosophy characteristically fastens on fact rather than myth, placing the prodigious figure in a detailed setting of the city with its workers and merchants, and a mundane domestic world of meals, servants, and an impulsive wife. Its irony also restrains any reverence for the great philosopher, emphasizing his foibles as well as his grandeur: when we first meet him, he has spent two days wandering about the city after forgetting that he left home to buy bread. The trial of Socrates for impiety and "corrupting the young" is high drama, and the final sequences, in which his family and followers gather in a cave as he is about to die, have a simple, resounding eloquence. "There is in this fidelity a kind of beauty and poetry that are all but unknown in the work of other contemporary filmmakers" (Vincent Canby, The New York Times).

Subs Spanish/English

no pass