Poetry (from the Film Il POSTINO) - Pablo Neruda
The film Il Postino is a labour of love, quite literally. It was a dream project of the Italian actor Mario Troisi. Troisi’s worsening heart condition meant that he was very weak and the entire production schedule was built around the one hour or so that Troisi could work every day. Since he was playing the central character of the postman, this was quite a feat. In fact, for many scenes with no dialogue, Troisi’s double was used. Troisi died the day after the last day of the shoot.
The film is set in a small coastal island in Italy where the poet Pablo Neruda is living for a short period in exile from Chile because of his political activities. It tells the story of a relationship that forms between Neruda and the initially shy postman who comes to deliver him his mail. Through the course of the film, the postman learns a new way of seeing. He is able to see his own beautiful island with fresh eyes - through the lens of metaphor.
The wonder of poetry mixed with the comic conservatism of the locals makes for a gentle and quaint romance. There are some memorable moments - especially when the villagers fear the effect of Neruda’s influence on the postman, afraid of his communist leanings, or the fear of “metaphors”. The evolution of the character of the postman into a man who learns of the wonders of poetry and of passionate love, is a joyous journey. We see that the postman, by the end, is a poet, a lover and a political activist in his own right. Once again, like, in the film Paterson, there is a sense that poetry is both miraculous, but also deeply entwined with the joy of little things.