Thursday, August 2, 2012


117m, 1971, Rossellini, TV (It)
The drama of Socrates' trial, condemnation and death is movingly presented in this stark film. The sets are rudimentary, there is just the hint of a musical score and the script is extracted mainly from Apology and Crito. The great director, who turned to biopics in the latter part of his life, is successful in breathing life into this ancient philosophers' life and ideas. We see this gentle man of seventy, unperturbed by his imminent demise, refusing to avail the opportunity of escape devised by his friends. The portrayal of his wife, less of a philosopher but almost as courageous, grappling with the destiny of being married to Socrates, is particularly sensitive and poignant. The film maintains a cool detachment as it portrays the somber and uplifting events that concluded Socrates' life. His philosophy has the depth to address the ultimate issue of death. Socrates is a courageous man whose actions match his ideas. Rossellini has a feeling for the sublime.
"I do not want to make beautiful films, I want to make useful films." - Roberto Rossellini