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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Not of This World
Directed by Giuseppe Piccioni
Facets 02/00 DVD/VHS Feature Film
"It's exactly through desire that we discover what animates and moves us," poet David Whyte has observed. The yearning to find love and to be of service is what lies behind the words and deeds of the two main characters in this lyrical and beautifully crafted Italian film directed by Giuseppe Piccioni. The drama is set in Milan where working women at a laundry, a hospital, and a restaurant create free-form communities in the city. Connections can be found anywhere for those who seek them.
Caterina (Margherita Buy) is a nun who thinks that she has located the community she wants in convent life. She is ready to take her final vows after five years of study and work. Although her mother is against her choice of vocation, this ardent young woman is already a mentor to a novice nun plagued with doubts about her own worthiness to serve God. Then Caterina's life is upended when she finds an abandoned baby wrapped in a sweater. Leaving the infant at the hospital, she tracks down the owner of the sweater, Ernesto (Silvio Orlando), a lonely man who runs a dry cleaning establishment.
For a brief period of mutual benefit, Caterina and Ernesto are drawn together in a search for the mother of the child, who is given the name Fausto by a judge overseeing his case. Ernesto, who appears to be indifferent to the women who work for him, opens up to Caterina. He is curious about her way of life and even stays at the convent for a few days, where he enjoys being the big winner at a bingo game with the nuns. Meanwhile, Caterina wonders about her feelings for Fausto. Her obsession with the baby, which becomes apparent when he is placed for adoption, forces her to measure the intensity of her devotion to God and her goal of service as a nun.
Not of This World is a film that rings true in every frame and goes straight to the heart. In the city, our yearning for love, for meaning, and for connection is what draws us together with others sometimes even complete strangers. We share a few magic moments and then move on, blessed by our time together.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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