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The Night of the Shooting Stars (2008)

Omero Antonutti , Margarita Lozano , Paulo and Vittorio Taviani  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Omero Antonutti, Margarita Lozano
  • Directors: Paulo and Vittorio Taviani
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Koch Lorber Films
  • DVD Release Date: April 1, 2008
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00124SNJ8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,402 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Night of the Shooting Stars" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

From internationally celebrated directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani (Padre Padrone) comes this "extraordinary" film (Los Angeles Times) about a Tuscan village struggling against Nazi oppression during the final days of World War II.

It is the Night of San Lorenzo, the night when dreams come true. While watching shooting stars, Cecilia tells her son about a similar night in 1944, when she was six years old, and the residents of San Martino, her small Tuscan town, defied their Nazi occupiers.

DVD EXTRA: "Talking About Cinema: Taviani Brothers" (84-minute interview by Carlo Lizzani)

Also includes an 8-page booklet with essay by Italian cinema expert Peter Bondanella.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
74 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tuscany's war. July 31, 2003
By A Customer
Quite simply the best movie produced by Italy in the post-Fellini/Antonioni era. (And never mind *Cinema Paradiso*, the movie of choice for those who drink cappuccinos after lunch.) *The Night of the Shooting Stars*, written and directed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, is a semi-autobiographical account of World War II shuddering to a close in the Tuscan countryside. The movie begins with the disembodied voice of a young woman, who proceeds to relate her childhood memories of war to her own child. We hear this as the camera stays glued on a static shot of an open window looking out into the dreamy blue evening. A typically fairy-tale-like Italian village is visible. This sets the stage for the impressionistic narrative that follows. Everything seems exaggerated in this movie, which is to be expected when the incidents are viewed primarily (though not exclusively) through the eyes of an impressionable six-year-old girl. The plot is simple: "San Martino (based on the real town of San Miniato between Pisa and Florence) is earmarked for destruction by the Germans. The villagers must decide whether to stay or leave. Rumors abound that the Americans are in the vicinity -- will they reach San Martino first? Or should the villagers hit the dusty roads in the countryside and find the Americans before their town is destroyed? About half stay, and half go: we follow the half that goes. There are dozens of characters who embark on the journey, so not much time can be expended on characterization. But the Tavianis cast actors of such unique physiognomy that we feel we know them at a glance. Quite often, they're presented as heroic archetypes. Read more ›
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61 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this movie and "Cinema Paradiso": a choice of dreams January 22, 2005
I was stunned by the "editorial review" above stating: "the dreamy nostalgia, while not satisfying as 'Cinema Paradiso'...". How curious for me is the fascination of the american public with "Cinema Paradiso", a mediocre, sentimental telenovela crafted to make people sigh and cry (just above the level of "The English Patient").
"The night of the shooting stars" is not about faked "dreamy nostalgia"; it is the story, beautifully told through the eyes of a young girl, of a Tuscan village in the II world war, during the German occupation (should I say "alliance"...) and the civil war (fascists-partisans), and tells a terrible choice that an entire village had to make.
There are moments in this movie that I will never forget:
- the man who, after spending the night pondering on the choice offered by the Germans (endorsed by the local priest), stands up and says: "sentite, Io dei tedeschi non mi fido..." ("look, I don't trust the Germans..."), and purely on that instinct will act, saving half of the village.
- the eyes and the face of the priest (as a reviewer says below), who realizes what he has done, too late.
- the fantastic battle in the wheat field, seen through the eyes of the girl as one in the Ilyad. And, as a reviewer says below, the people who recognize each other during the fight. Half-dream, half-reality, an incredible moment of cinema.
- the anxious wait for the arrival of the Americans, who seem always around the corner (the cruel joke from somebody, the phonograph, on that wall...).

There are fake dreams, and authentic, sincere ones; "La notte di San Lorenzo" (the beautiful Italian title) offers one whose nature you will not doubt.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the three best Italian films of the eighties! August 20, 2004
This film is real gem . Superb and loaded with cosmic poetry . Since this movie describes the insights of the WW2 in Tuscan , the Tavianni brothers avoid to describe the physical wounds of the war.

They focus on the deep impact on the psiquis and the simple behavior of a simple group of brave people for surviving.

The horror you'll breathe for instance, at the church undergrounds, the wedding and the best glorious achievement in the middle of field are simply outstanding. One little girl with his voice in off will make her own journey and will employ her particular justice code against the enemy told in such level of poetic and expressive intensity that when you leave the cinema hall remain mesmerized.

Acquire as soon as possible this extraordinary film.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Greatest of All Foreign Films April 3, 2008
I loved this picture in its initial American release, returned to see it three times theatrically, have watched it six or seven times in the subsequent years, and gave the old MGM dvd to many people, all of whom shared my enthusiasm for such a magical film. The Taviani brothers mix realism and poetry to shattering effect; there are scenes and images, both comic and tragic, that I'll wager will stick with you a lifetime. They certainly have for me. Essential (and immensely pleasurable) viewing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Child witnessing end of the war April 26, 2009
By Reader
WWII in Italy was time when polarization was at its greatest. Fascists have lost the power, but their desire for control was still strong. In small village in Tuscany, locals are anxious about arrival of allied forces that will prevent destruction of their homes and secure safety from fascists. Unsure what to do, most villagers have to choose between following the instructions of their local priest vs. following their own heart and intuition.

I loved the relationships portrayed between protagonists in this movie: young mother trying to protect her daughter (a narrator of this story), old couple who missed out on being married 40 years ago due to social norms of the time, virgin empowered with knowing that men of all ages desire her; young man trying to protect his pregnanat bride due to deliver their first child in any moment. All characters are real in their all too human fears, desires and fight for survival.

Story is told by a woman who experienced all this as a 6 year old child, now a mother herself. She tells this story to her young son during the night of the shooting starts in the sky - and the story is no fairy tale or a lullaby. Wonderful movie with beauty of Tuscany that not even war could destroy and determination of the ordinary peasants to preserve their life, families and dignity.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Another two genii - the actor Omero Anteonutti under the direction of...
Another brilliant picture of the Us/Uk liberation of the north of Italy at the end of the Second World war.
Published 5 months ago by Margot C Ludbrook
2.0 out of 5 stars confused disjointed
I believe this is over rated - could have been an interesting movie but it seems to ramble all over italy
Published 10 months ago by Jack Hicks
4.0 out of 5 stars the Night of the Shooting Stars
Replacing the old VHS with DVD in my foreign film collection. WWII is seen through the eyes of the young 8 year old Italian girl and it shows the optimism of the young. Read more
Published on January 30, 2012 by farytale
1.0 out of 5 stars The Night of the Shooting Stars
I guess it's me. The glowing reviews helped me decide I should watch this. I was disappointed.
Published on October 22, 2010 by Anne
4.0 out of 5 stars A story of survival
WWII is ending, and the occupying German forces intend to blow up a village before the approaching Americans get there. Read more
Published on August 4, 2010 by Kona
5.0 out of 5 stars A Child's View of an Atrocity
Seen through the eyes of a six-year-old girl this is the story of a Nazi massacre of an Italian village. Read more
Published on March 10, 2009 by Nelda S. Mohr
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent movie, speedy delivery
The movie is first rate and I was delighted with how quickly it arrived.
Published on August 29, 2006 by Deborah L. Hatfield Moore
1.0 out of 5 stars Love obscure foreign films.....but
This movie is just such a snooze and full of random

strange scenes (not suitable for family viewing - even with children over 16). Read more
Published on June 3, 2006 by Reader from Texas
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