Monday Movie: The Night of the Shooting Stars, by David Bax
Every Monday, we’ll recommend a movie–it could be a classic, an overlooked recent treasure, an unfairly maligned personal favorite or whatever the hell we feel like–and we’ll tell you where to find it online.
1982’s The Night of the Shooting Stars is large and inherently cinematic. It’s also an assertively music-forward production. In the last days of World War II, a large band of men, women and children from a small town wander the Italian countryside, trying to find the liberating Americans before either the Germans or their pro-fascist fellow countrymen find them. That sounds grim and, truthfully, there is no escaping the tragic and fatal realities of the situation. But directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani tell the story through the eyes of two protagonists – an older man (played winningly by Omero Antonutti) and a young girl (the adult version of whom serves as narrator) – who find the adventure and excitement a thrilling change from their lives in town. The Tavianis display an adeptness with bigger set-pieces, like the climactic shootout, and a penchant for being romantic and lyrical without sentimentality. The Night of the Shooting Stars plays like the retelling of a familiar folk tale.
The Night of the Shooting Stars is available to rent on Amazon.