Pablo Neruda, the famous Chilean poet, is exiled to a small island for political reasons. On the island, the unemployed son of a poor fisherman is hired as an extra postman due to the huge increase in mail that this causes. Il Postino is to hand-deliver the celebrity's mail to him. Though poorly educated, the postman learns to love poetry and eventually befriends Neruda. Struggling to grow and express himself more fully, he suddenly falls in love and needs Neruda's help and guidance more than ever. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
Mesmerizing film about friendship, poetry, and love.
Set in the early 1950s on a small Italian island, there are three central characters in this movie, one real and the other two fictional. The real one is Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (played by French actor Noiret who resembles Neruda quite nicely). Neruda died in 1973, but really did spend several years in exile in Italy, and really is a world-famous poet.
In this fictional story, simple and honest, but somewhat dim, 40-something Mario Ruoppolo (Massimo Troisi, who died of heart failure right before the movie was released) is the son of a small time fisherman. Mario really doesn't like the fishing, but has no job. At dad's encouragement, he finds a temporary job as a postman, "il postino." The famous poet is moving into the small village and a man with a bicycle is needed to deliver his mail daily. It pays very little in this poor village, but it is a job. And the friendship that eventually develops between Neruda and Mario changes their lives.
The third central character is pretty and sexy 20-something Beatrice (Maria Grazia Cucinotta) who works in her fiercely protective aunt's bar and restaurant. Mario admires her from afar, but Neruda's poetry gives Mario an entry. He tells Neruda later, "Poetry doesn't belong to those who write it, it is for those who need to use it."
A very charming and meaningful movie on DVD for those who don't mind reading English subtitles. Or, listen to it in Italian or French. Some of my favorite scenes were the conversations between Mario and the poet when the mail was delivered.
SPOILERS FOLLOW. Mario manages to win the affections of Beatrice through his poetry and they marry. The political climate changes in Chile allowing Neruda to return there. Mario is sad that Neruda does not seem to remember them. But he turns up perhaps 6 or 8 years later, meets Mario's young son and Beatrice, but finds that Mario had died in a rumble during a Communist rally in the square. The movie ends with Neruda on the beach where he and Mario had had so many wonderful conversations, reflecting on the beauty of the island and how it influenced his poetry. And the friendship with Mario.
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