Christ Stopped at Eboli

Director: Francesco Rosi
Year Released: 1979
Rating: 3.0

Pensive drama based on Carlo Levi's real-life exile to a tiny village in Southern Italy - due to his opposition of Mussolini - that shows him using his medical knowledge to heal the poor, out-of-touch villagers, working in his spare time on his painting and walking around town getting to know its people and their customs (and how they are given to superstition and rumor-mongering). What's remarkable about it is how generally unremarkable it is: there aren't many shouting matches, there isn't a lot of drama, and it's very quiet, observant and 'lived in' - the pacing is languid and requires patience but there's a real power to its simplicity (Rosi's never been the most exuberant of filmmakers - a stark contrast to, say, Fellini). Gian Maria Volontè plays Levi as a man who's austere and somewhat guarded, like a prisoner in jail making the most out of his situation.