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  • Actors Baolo Bonacelli and Gian Maria Volontè confer in a town square.
  • A procession of townspeople walking outside in the snow.
  • Actor Gian Maria Volontè speaks with a woman near ruins.
  • Actor Gian Maria Volontè speaks with three women, including one holding a baby.
  • Actors Gian Maria Volontè and Irene Papas; he looks on as she scrubs a basin.
  • Actor Gian Maria Volontè speaks with two police officers.

Francesco Rosi’s

HELD OVER! Must End Thursday, July 25

12:30 ONLY


(1979) In 1935, painter, writer, doctor and anti-Fascist leader Carlo Levi (1902-1975) – played by the great Gian Maria Volontè (Rosi’s Lucky Luciano and Mattei Affair, Petri’s Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, Melville’s Le Cercle Rouge, Leone bad guy, etc.) – is exiled from Turin to Lucania, a region deep into the instep of southern Italy, a place so abject even Christ has forsaken it. In this most desolate of landscapes, existing side by side with ravishing natural beauty, he finds Gagliano, a town with one car and only one porcelain toilet; where magic spells, curative coins, and evil spirits exist side by side with Christianity – the drunken, disgraced priest denounces the locals as “donkeys, not Christians;” where cleaning lady Irene Papas (Guns of NavaroneZorba the Greek) is the only woman who can enter his house because she’s already had 17 children with 17 different men; and where, until Levi is allowed to practice, there are no competent, trusted doctors. And yet, as Levi lives among them, humanity starts to break through. Based on Levi’s best-selling 1945 memoir (still in print from FSG Classics and available at our concession). Made for Italian television in four 55-minute parts, it was cut in half for its 1980 U.S. release (to 2 hours — Rosi’s own theatrical cut was 2½) and senselessly re-titled EboliDCPApprox. 220 min, plus intermission.

Read The New York Times travel article on Matera, Europe’s 2019 Capital of Culture, and the setting of Levi's story.



“Lyrical, unmannered, unflashy, intelligent, emotionally overwhelming…
A truly special cinematic experience.”

– Carlos Valladares, San Francisco Chronicle

“The American theatrical premiere of the full version, now at Film Forum, is an event.”
– J. Hoberman, The New York Times
Read the full review here.

“Forty years after its premiere, American audiences can savor its earthy and transcendent glory in its full 220-minute running time, in a print that Rialto has restored to its pungent, moody luster, with clear, nuanced subtitles by Michael F. Moore. This is the ideal way to experience Levi’s (and Rosi’s) daring act of immersion.”
– Michael Sragow, Film Comment
Read the full article here.

– David Denby

“A secular miracle! The director’s masterpiece and a stunning introduction to his work.”
– Michael Sragow

“Best viewed as a meditation, not a conventional drama… An absorbing and sometimes stunningly beautiful movie with an impressive sense of historical detail and social insight.”
– David Sterritt

“I was completely absorbed… the audience seemed hushed, as if at a concert where the musicians were playing very softly.”
– Pauline Kael

Film Forum