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The Night of the Shooting Stars (2008)

Omero Antonutti , Margarita Lozano , Paulo and Vittorio Taviani  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Omero Antonutti, Margarita Lozano
  • Directors: Paulo and Vittorio Taviani
  • Format: Multiple Formats, 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: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00124SNJ8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,639 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

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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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best movie you've never seen January 14, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This haunting drama deserves to be viewed repeatedly for a full appreciation of its intricate relationships. Italian villagers defy the fascist Black Shirts' orders to stay in their small village (which is mined with bombs), choosing instead to seek the Yank liberators they hear are on the way. As they venture into the countryside, the townsfolk encounter beauty, bloodshed, and long-buried romance in a World War II story flavored with Italian mythology. It's the Taviani Brothers' ("Padre Padrone") masterpiece, with its mix of surreal lyricism and blunt reality. My question? When does the DVD come out?
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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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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic May 22, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Easily missed, this film has some of the most poignant & beautiful scenes ever incorporated in a war movie. I'm not a lover of war movies, but as usual, the Italians have created a masterpiece out of a monster. A must-see. Exquisite.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat Dissapointing
The description of the movie didn't really meet my expectations. I didn't really understand parts of it so I read some more about it online but I wasn't really impressed.
Published 1 month ago by Clv
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
The Taviana brothers make such beautiful films. This film, in particular, with its' mythologizing of childhood memories and events is deeply moving as well as stunning visually.
Published 2 months ago by halbregg
5.0 out of 5 stars Tuscan countryside and it's dilemmas by the end of WWII
The Taviani brothers managed to deliver on a splendid film with plenty of snapshots of the dichotomy of common ordinary folks in Tuscany as the Nazi army leaves Italy and the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by oappelm
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my alltime favorites
I love this movie, and have seen it numerous times over the last few decades. Wonder and horror combine to provide depth and hope in a war zone.
Published 4 months ago by Dr Doran
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 10 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 14 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
4.0 out of 5 stars Child witnessing end of the war
WWII in Italy was time when polarization was at its greatest. Fascists have lost the power, but their desire for control was still strong. Read more
Published on April 26, 2009 by Reader
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