24 March 2020 | ulicknormanowen
Only martyrs survive.
Luigi MAGNI is certainly one of the most underrated Italian directors ;like his peers , he achieves a rare feat : to combine comedy with drama .
Two carbonari ,fighting in 1925 against the powers- that -be,the papal and the catholic church domination , have to do away with one of their companions ,who betrayed the cause;but the victim is not dead ,and his murderer ,a doctor has to heal him :the drama soon turns into a farce .
All the first part is action-packed ,but the second one could be performed on stage : arrested,both killers must repent before being guillotined ;there's the rub :Alberto sordi as the friar is worth the price of admission when he implores the condemned persons to repent and to save their soul.
The movie is a strong attack against the political Church .Jews are considered "almost human being" and during the hateful mass , they are branded as the Savior's murderer.On the scaffold where the convicts are to be beheaded ,there are places where the believers can wash their sins away thanks to the indulgences:it was a long time since "Martin Luther objected to the selling of indulgences in his "95 Theses" because he felt that it was wrong to promise that souls would be relieved from purgatory based on a simple monetary contribution"; and the people 's attitude ,as far as the sentenced to death are concerned is revealing : they do not rebel ,they approve of the execution ,probably not because of their religious fervor ,but just for the show.
But without knowing it ,they serve the cause : if a hero is not a martyr , their acts are pointless ; the last sequence proves this right.
As convict Hossein points out ,the guillotine is now linked with the French Revolution,but here it kills the revolutionaries.
luigi Magni's attacks against the pope's temporal power would continue in "in nome del pape rey" (1977) ,generally considered his masterpiece , which depicted the last days of the pontifical state.