Postino, Il [1994]

Italian star and filmmaker Massimo Troisi was dying of heart failure even before this film, his dream project, began production, and he prevailed upon British director Michael Radford (White Mischief) to see him and the film through to the end. (The 40-year-old Troisi, a beloved comic actor in Italy, died the day production wrapped.) Based on true events, Troisi plays a shy postman who strikes up an unlikely friendship with exiled Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (Philippe Noiret). Through Neruda's example and tutelage, the hero learns to think of his Italian fishing village in lyrical terms, as well as how to talk to women and even find the strength to take his political stands. Sweet as it is, the film finally pushes beyond its charming borders to become an even more complex and poignant story about the pain of growing into one's destiny. --Tom Keogh

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