Christ Stopped at Eboli
(Cristo si è fermato a Eboli)
Full-Length Digital Restoration, Back by Popular Demand!
Gian Maria Volontè, Alain Cuny, Irene Papas, Paolo Bonacelli,
In the mountain village of Gagliano, in the impoverished Lucania region of south-central Italy, a proverb reflects the unchanging nature of the inhabitants’ isolation: even Christ stopped at Eboli, the town at the bottom of the bare and craggy hill. In 1935 Carlo Levi, the leftist writer, physician, and painter, was banished by the Fascist government to three years’ exile in Gagliano. His experiences were recorded in his masterful postwar novel Christ Stopped at Eboli. In Rosi’s stunning film, Gian Maria Volonté portrays Levi, but he shares the role of protagonist with the camera as he walks the steep and stony streets of the village and, very slowly, comes to understand the combination of superstition and resignation by which the peasantry has survived over generations. In their misery and in the rapacious way in which the petit bourgeoisie exploit it to save their souls, Levi locates the roots of an indigenous fascism playing on atavistic prejudices and fears. Where Levi remained an outsider struggling with his romanticism about the impoverished South, Rosi’s understanding as a filmmaker is profoundly one of solidarity.