This is the story of homecoming for Primo Levi (John Turturro), a young Italian chemist, who was a prisoner at Auschwitz. At the end of the war, when Primo is released, the journey home to Turin, Italy, is a long one. Together with an assortment of travelling companions, Primo struggles to find his way, to rediscover life, as well as coping with the realities of travelling from Poland to Italy post war.
Review by Louise Keller:
This powerful film is an obvious labour of love from Francesco Rosi. With great cinematic skill, this true and moving story is of the fear that freedom brings and the steep return journey to 'normal' life, after the experience of Auschwitz. John Turturro is extraordinary as Primo, the pharmacist, anxious to return home to Italy; his performance is soulful, moody, empathetic and totally convincing.
The journey of his survival is rediscovering the simplest of things: how to laugh and cry, to come to terms with the horror witnessed, rediscovering his sexuality, embracing camaraderie. His friendship with The Greek (masterfully played by Rade Serbedzija) is complex and succinctly explained: "the master at dawn, the teacher at noon, the older brother by dusk."
Although serious in content with many haunting and disturbing images, The Truce is not a depressing film by any means. It embarks on a journey of hope. Luis Bacalov's rousing and spirited musical score reflects much of the passion and nostalgia experienced: soulful violins, heavenly flutes, heralding trumpets and oomphy orchestrations that allow our emotions and sensitivities to be touched. Music knows no boundaries or wars. Hearing strains of Vivaldi's Four Seasons, while watching a flock of geese wander wild, is a feast for eyes, ears and the soul. The scene at Munich railway station, where Primo has the courage to ask for retribution from a German railway worker, is one that passes without a word, but is so effective. Primo moves his jacket, revealing his Auschwitz identification number: the German acknowledges him on his bended knees.
This is a journey that glimpses the very worst, and also the finest of the human spirit. Don't miss it.
Published May 8, 2008
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TRUCE: DVD (M15+)
CAST: John Turturro, Massimo Ghini, Rade Serbedzija, Stefano Dionisi
PRODUCER: Leo Pescarolo, Guido De Laurentiis
DIRECTOR: Francesco Rosi
SCRIPT: Francesco Rosi, Stefano Rulli, Sandro Petraglia (based on the book by Primo Levi; from a screen adaptation by Francesco Rosi and Tonino Guerra)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Pasqualino De Santis and Marco Pontecorvo
EDITOR: Ruggero Mastroianni
MUSIC: Luis Bacalov
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Andrea Crisanti
RUNNING TIME: 115 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: None
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Madman
DVD RELEASE: February 20, 2008