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Leopardi

(Il giovane favoloso)
Italy 2014. Dir: Mario Martone. 143 min. Blu-ray Disc

A multiple prize winner at Venice, this latest work from admired Italian auteur Mario Martone (L'amore molesto, We Believed) is a prestigious film biography of the great 19th century Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi. Stunningly shot in Rome, Florence, and Naples, Martone's engrossing, impassioned costume drama chronicles the abbreviated life of the literary icon, whose chronic ill health and crumpled physique — the result of a congenial bone deformation, tactfully rendered by actor Elio Germano — engendered an anguished worldview that populated his oeuvre. Leopardi was a solitary wordsmith whose life was devoid of scandal or public romance; kudos go to Martone for fashioning drama — and cinematic stardust — largely out of Leopardi’s outpouring of ideas. “A sweeping, swooning historical drama, unashamedly high-flown and performed with conviction” (Xan Brooks, The Guardian). In Italian and Neapolitan with English subtitles.