This film depicts the life of Saint John Bosco (1815 - 1888). He dedicated his life to rescuing abandoned and exploited street children in Turin. He was the founder of the Salesian order, ... See full summary »
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People who have traveled to the northern part of Italy and particularly to the center of Piedmont must have heard of the city of Turin. A primarily industrial city saw marvelous events that took place in the 19th century thanks to one priest whose life was full of devotion to poor youngsters. This priest's name was John Bosco (1815-1888), a man who won the hearts of even the most "lost" boys. The film by Lodovico Gasparini is a truly educational biopic which concentrates on the fundamental thing Bosco's life was based on, Love.
BRIEF INTRODUCTION OF CONTENT: Piedmont, the 1830s, young priest John Bosco (Flavio Insinna) sees the hardship of the society and their brute living conditions. Most of young boys turn to crimes and robberies while girls make money as prostitutes. The most cruel fact, however, is that no one seems to care about these young people who lost all dreams of a better future. Once, Bosco visits a prison of minors and faces a terribly difficult conversation with young thieves. He realizes that the only way to help them is through solidarity. He decides to arrange one free day for nine boys from prison. The day on which he takes care of them begins a new era for the youngsters. A school is started in Valdocco where the boys can learn to read and write. Youngsters begin to recapture their believe in dignity and a hope for a better future. However, no one would then expect, probably not even Bosco himself, that this will be such a bright future that will move crowds of people...
CAST: Flavio Insinna, known for some of his roles in Italian productions, gives a magnificent performance as Don Bosco. Not only his outlook suits to this role but his entire acting. No moment disappointed me when compared to my expectations of how I imagined Bosco. I also liked Lina Sastri as Margherita Bosco. I remember this actress from SAINT PETER (2005) where she also beautifully portrayed Mary. Here, her role is filled with heart. Other performances, except for some, constitute primarily the ones by young boys. In this case, the boy actor that caught my attention was Lewis Clutch who plays a famous young saint, Domenico Savio. Although the film is not a top production, which is proved by the small number of IMDb votes, the performances are of very high level. Thanks to them the film is nice to watch since the content is quite hard as Bosco's life itself was.
POWERFUL MOMENTS: I know that someone may say: "This is a religious epic and since I am not religious, I won't watch this". Yes, you are free to think your way, nobody forces this on you. Yet, such a viewpoint will not open you to wonderful horizons in life but will rather close you within your world. This movie, like many purely religious films does not show religion falsely, as it isn't - full of codes, duties, fear of God the Judge but rather religion as full of simple JOY and LOVE. Don Bosco's life was filled with these two things and almost each scene of the movie contains them. Why does he sacrifice everything for the boys? Because of love. Why does he like the way he lives and cannot live another way? Because of joy, great joy that he learned from Jesus in the Eucharist. Powerful moments of the movie are numerous, difficult to enumerate just here in one review but one thing is certain: these moments make the film really touching. The scene in the forest moved me most... Bosco speaks to the boys from prison, those who lost faith that God is with them. Yet, it is them he speaks to, not the theologians or saints, but young criminals: :Look up, at the sky, at the sun, look around you ... if you admire these beauties that are God's shadows, His creatures only, you are free within your hearts and no one can take this freedom away from you." Bosco's recovery is also very moving. Because of difficulties in founding Salesians, Don Bosco is so ill that he seems to die soon. The boys' prayers touched me to tears... And the final symbolic scene when the priest walks in the streets of a big city and looks for orphans to take care of (that's what he really did), he finds one boy ... "No one is an orphan on this earth"...
AN IMPORTANT NOTE: I like this movie thanks to one more factor. It is not only a biopic of Don Bosco but it wonderfully makes use of extensive story of saint Domenico Savio (1842-1857) a boy who died at 15 in sainthood. His words "Better die than sin" became the fundamental words of the Salesians. His life, though so different and shorter than Bosco's, also reached sainthood. Lewis Crutch memorably plays Domenico, particularly a moving scene of his death. And Bosco's words after the boy's death: he died but only if we have forgotten his example. Yet, as long as we follow him, he lives within us. GREAT, ABSOLUTELY GREAT SCRIPT!
I recommend everyone to see this film, particularly youngsters. Those who feel so lonely or who think that God has forgotten us will see a slightly different light after this movie. No matter of historical period, no matter of races, believes, countries, continents, where is Love, there God occurs to be. See this! This movie will touch you to tears! If we take Bosco's example, no one around us will feel an orphan...
JUST A HISTORIC NOTE: Don Bosco was canonized in 1934 by Pius XI and Domenico Savio in 1954. Both are buried in Turin where yearly, crowds of pilgrims visit their tombs, the tombs from which one truth has been shining brightly for more than 100 years now: Love is eternal and only Love conquers the world!
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