26 January 2001
This ensemble drama details the friendships that grow between survivors of the 1997 Umbria earthquake. The original story, a fiction about the historic earthquake was written by middle school students. The story was adapted for the film. Francesca Archibuga is the first person to tackle the aftermath of Italy's devastating earthquakes especially in this medieval town in Umbria. This film divides its time between the children and adult survivors of this calamity. The townsfolk deal with various issues as they try to resume normal lives in a homeless situation. Adding aesthetic interest is a priceless Fra Angelico fresco endangered in the church, which English art expert Andrew Spender (James Purefoy) is sent to restore. A relationship develops between handsome Andrew and the plain school teacher. Sides are taken in the community concerning the necessity of protecting the fresco when there are more urgent needs. The story is laid out in a series of existential jolts: a young boy sees a crack appear in his warm home life, a slightly impaired teacher encounters a love fallen from the muddy rain, two formerly inseparable girls become estranged. The movie asks who you really are when you are stripped of the normal trappings of life-house, job, shoes, backpack. Relationships develop that would not have happened under normal conditions. After a devastation like an earthquake, all that defines you are your relationships.
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