Baaria [Blu-ray] [Import]
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From the director of Cinema Paradiso comes a stirring, unforgettable new epic of Italian life as you’ve never seen it before. The course of a lifetime reflects the evolution of a country as young Peppino takes work as a shepherd to support his family in the Sicilian town of Bagheria, nicknamed “Baarìa” by its residents. During the next five decades he experiences the passionate love of his life, undergoes a powerful political awakening, and discovers a destiny he could have never imagined. A visual feast featuring a powerful score by legendary Academy Award - winning composer Ennio Morricone, Baaria captures the past century with a mesmerizing beauty and rare cinematic power.
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Top Customer Reviews
This movie is autobiographic. It tells the story of three generations, with the odyssey of his father life as the center of the other lives.
I loved it!
It is still an European movie, not suitable to everybody...
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Baarìa is Sicilian slang for Bagheria where Tornatore was born and this is an autobiographic epic of three generations in the Sicilian village where he was born. It begins in the 1920's where Giuseppe "Peppino" Torrenuova lives with his brother Nino and his parents in a hovel. They are so poor that Peppino's father advises him to become a shepherd in order to help support the family. Peppino progresses to taking a cow around the town to fill the milk buckets of the townspeople, struggles through school, progresses to young adulthood when he falls in love with Mannina and going against Mannina's family's dream of having their daughter marry money, the two elope - in the home of Mannina! - and it is here that the characters become the adults who carry the film. Of note, Tornatore elected to cast the main characters with little known Sicilian actors: Peppino is Francesco Scianna and Mannina is Margareth Madè - both brilliant in their roles. From this point the time passes through historical references to Il Duce, the mafia, WW II and the coming of the Americans, but more important is Peppino's idealistic concept that his future lies in politics. He becomes a Communist, rises in the ranks, eventually even visiting Moscow to meet with Stalin, and returns to Baaria to help the people struggle for land reform and socialism, all the while he continues to have children with Mannina and follow his dreams of being a successful politician, a dream that is as fragile as it is unattainable.
The film flashes back and forth in time and has no linear story line: Tornatore is more interested in taking snippets of his memories of his past life growing up in Baaria than he is in keeping the audience clear about the characters who flash in and out of the story. His use of children is magical - they seem more wise in their innocence that the adults. But take the movie for what it is - a mélange of remembered moments in the writer/director's life - and witness some of the most beautiful moments ever created for the screen, such as the eventual death of Peppino's father who passes his wisdom to his son, and Peppino's advice to this oldest son as the son takes the train to Rome: the son asks 'Why do people call us hotheaded?' to which Peppino answers 'Because we think we can embrace the Universe, but our arms are too short.' Peppino's wisdom he passes to his son is to follow his heart at all costs and there will he find satisfaction. This film is overflowing in such moments and watching it is like opening a treasure trunk full of dazzlingly memories. The musical score by the evergreen Ennio Morricone is absolutely one of his finest - a score the composer created in conjunction with Tornatore.
There is a problem with the DVD that hopefully someone will solve: the English subtitles (the film is in Italian and Sicilian) are very difficult to read - so bleached out are they over backgrounds of bright Sicilian light. It is a post-production flaw that needs to be corrected for non Italian speaking audiences, but even with that minor problem, this is one of the most touching and tender and emotionally satisfying films this viewer has ever seen. 10 stars! Grady Harp, October 11
As always, Tornatore's film is a beautiful physical specimen. The technical aspects of art direction and cinematography enhance the movie's appeal, and it really looks crisp and clean. Taking place in a small Sicilian hamlet called Bagheria (of which the title Baaria is a nickname), the bulk of the film deals with a small boy who advances through his life to old age within the narrative. Not only do we see his world and family, but we see the political structure of the country change around him. I enjoyed much of this perspective as there were subtle lessons in history sprinkled throughout the piece. Certain moments have a pleasant sweetness, some are more tough. It's as if we are catching random glimpses of the characters as time progresses. And in truth, I really liked the idea of the film. However, if I'm being completely honest--the device, while interesting, is also what caused me to disconnect from the story. Just when something of interest happens, you move on. Nothing has time to resonate. How can you watch someone's life story and still not particularly know them or care about them? That is ultimately how I felt with "Baaria."
And yet, I still can't completely discount Tornatore's conception. It's big, bold and adventurous. Sure, it veers to the fantastical once too often--but here is a filmmaker with a specific point of view. It wasn't wholly successful for me, but it didn't lack in ambition (which so many films do). The movie itself ranks at about 3 1/2 stars for my taste. But the DVD features are enough to make me round up and should be appreciated by Tornatore fans. He is front and center in a commentary track, in behind the scenes footage, in an interview, and at the film's premiere. In addition, some deleted scenes are also present. Clearly, this was a personal and important project for the director. I just wish that I had felt the same passion as he has for the work. KGHarris, 10/11.
and history - better than any book I read - with beautiful style and honesty. Sicilian pride, honor, respect, temperament and sacrifice were clearly displayed with humor and passion throughout the film.
I'm still unclear about some of the allegorical frames of reference, but that has tempted me to view the film again, and again. The conclusion has me wondering if Sicily has been asleep for the past 60 years. If so, then Tornatore has woken it up without destroying its dreamlike qualities. Baaria should be recognized as a classic for which it is.