11 April 2009 | Bunuel1976
IL PROCESSO DI SANTA TERESA DEL BAMBINO GESU' (TV) (Vittorio Cottafavi, 1967) ***
During his 20-year retirement from the screen, renowned former "Euro-Cult" exponent Cottafavi dabbled exclusively in TV, making all kinds of stuff; thankfully, a number of these programs have regularly turned up on late-night Italian TV over the last couple of years, though this is only the second I've watched. The film deals with the inquiry into the beatification of St. Theresa Of The Baby Jesus; the process involves the interrogation of several of her fellow nuns, into the nature of her life within the cloister, by three clerics – one of whom has been expressly appointed to act as Devil's Advocate in the matter (an intense Paolo Graziosi sporting tiny rotund dark glasses, thus bringing a contemporary i.e. 1967 perspective to the table). Interestingly, what emerges says more about the interviewees themselves than it does about the subject (with a final revelation involving one of the juror's own doubts vis-a'-vis the case at hand): while they all readily bestow piety upon her at first, as it turns out, further probing reveals that none of them seemed to like her much – being envious of the girl (who died at only 24 years of age) and essentially mystified by her behavior! For what is practically a studio-bound talk-fest, the 63-minute film proves an exercise in austerity – perfectly understandable in view of the theme involved and lending it, in this way, the intimacy which best suits the medium.