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The Hand of God

(Italy) This is a coming-of-age story centered around Fabietto, a young man who is trying to figure out what to do with his life. The film is essentially in two parts. The first is a rather slow and meandering look at Fabietto’s direct and extended family, including an aunt, Patrizia, to whom he has an odd attraction – a clearly physical one, but also one that is sympathetic to her condition. The family is full of characters – some cranky, some loving, and some rather mean-spirited – but they are all a family. A startling event ushers in the second half of the film in which Fabietto finds himself aspiring to be a filmmaker. I liked the film. There is a quality about it that reminded me of Roma, the way the director lovingly looks back on the people and events that shaped his life. I think the best thing for me was the visuals – just like his previous film, The Great Beauty, this film is full of luscious and exquisite shots. Nearly every scene is its own masterpiece, full of layers of beauty and meaning. This is one of those films that you have to just wander along with and absorb the beauty and the various emotions it engenders. It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but I very much enjoyed it. (2021; 4 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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