"Dottore" Joe Moretti travels round Sicily doing screen tests for the big Roman studios. He's a conman and takes money or favours for his efforts. Beata, a young illiterate convent girl desperately wants to change her life and falls for him, belatedly he realises his feelings for her. Their love affair is doomed when he's arrested. —David Morgans <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Nothing Can Stop Us Now, We Are All Made of Stars.
A seemingly heartless con-man (Sergio Castellito) goes around post-World War II Sicily filming most everyone, for a price, and leads villagers to believe that he is a talent scout for a film studio. Naturally many flock to the apparently kind stranger and do what they can to escape lives of poverty and unhappiness. Castellito meets up with many vivid characters, but none more so than the beautiful Tiziana Lodato (in her first screen role). Soon the young lady is begging Castellito to take her to the land of movie-making and in the process he falls in love with her and acquires a conscience. Apparently he may change his ways and then again maybe not, but it becomes very clear that the local authorities may catch up to Castellito before the film runs its course. "The Star Maker" was a Best Foreign Language Film nominee at the Academy Awards in 1995. Co-written and directed by horribly under-rated Italian film-maker Giuseppe Tornatore (who struck Foreign Language Oscar gold in 1989 with "Cinema Paradiso", one of my all-time favorite pictures), "The Star Maker" is a flawed work because of a strange tone that makes it an uneven experience at times. Humorous situations early point the way to a free-wheeling comedy, but soon drama sneaks in and by the end the drama has literally chased the early comedic routines away. The performers come and go, but Lodato's appearance about half-way through was enough to put the movie over the top. She just shines in a film of illuminated darkness and ultimately steals the show from Castellito by the heart-breaking finale. Tornatore was able to grab everyone with "Cinema Paradiso". Regardless of whether you liked that film or not, you should have cared for the primary characters. "The Star Maker" is a little more difficult in that regard. It holds its audience at arm's length most of the time and almost never hugs as tight as it should have. The final haunting scenes are reminiscent of the emotionally-charged montage to the magic of motion pictures in "Cinema Paradiso" and thankfully by that point most everything was presented well enough to make "The Star Maker" an important and worthy addition to the Italian world of films. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
- Nov 29, 2003
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