| This is an unusual film whose impact grows over time
The Star Maker tells such a simple story that I was puzzled as to why its emotional impact grew long after I had seen it. It relates a series of encounters of con man `Dottore' Joe Morelli (Sergio Castellitto) with his marks. Like all con men, he sells dreams, in this case dreams of stardom, and some of the emotional power derives from the universal appeal of this con. In part the power lies in the cinematography of contrast and illusion. The contrast of the physical beauty of Sicily with its poverty alone is sufficient to grab your attention. But the most powerful contrast is seen in the faces of the Sicilians during their screen tests. Giuseppe Tornatore magically captures the hopes and the desperations of his would-be stars as they appear before the `Dottore's' camera. They have two minutes to sell themselves and to escape their destiny of poverty and capture their life's ambitions. Then there is the hero's moral dilemma. This is an `everyman' story; `il Dottore' is another poor guy who does what he can just to get by. He grabs our sympathy by demonstrating sympathy for his marks and by making some exceptional decisions along his way. While I was watching, it appeared to be no more that a series of loosely connected tales. Soon afterwards, the complexity and the moral strengths of the tale grew on me and continue to pleasantly persist.