1 August 2001 | ItalianGerry
Film biography has always been a popular genre in Italy with subjects ranging from Saint Francis to Giuseppe Verdi. This fascist-era movie is a reverent and appealing story of Giovanni Bosco (1815-1888) who became the founder of the Salesian teaching order which ministered to homeless boys and which is still very much in operation today. The movie is never maudlin (with a couple of lapses) and has some wonderful lyric-pastoral moments from John Bosco's Piedmontese childhood. Goffredo Alessandrini directed with a sure hand and Giampaolo Rosmino plays the adult Don Bosco with conviction. The music score is by the important modern Italian composer Gian Francesco Malipiero. One can note the fascist militia in Saint Peter's Square during the newsreel excerpts of Don Bosco's canonization ceremony at the end.