The Postman


The Postman Essay, Research Paper

Presentation of The Postman

Review and Summary:

And it was at that age Poetry arrived in search of me.

I don t know, I don’t know where it comes from,

from winter or a river.

I don t know how or when.

No, they were not voices, they were not words, nor silence,

but from a street I was summoned from the branches of night,

abruptly from the others, among violent fines or returning alone,

there I was without a face, and it touched me.

The film concludes with a scrolling Neruda poem, which was given to the last Massimo Troisi who died of a heart failure after .Il postino x was finished shooting.

Actually my partner and I were very reluctant in giving you this presentation on .Il postino x, because the film is just like a poem. We should feel it by heart rather than analyze it through theories. Just like Neruda put it, .when you explain it, poetry becomes banal better than any explain is the experience of feelings that poetry can reveal to a nature open enough to understand it try and walk slowly along the seashore as far as the bay and around you. x

The way Neruda interprets poery is just the way the director interprets film. Indeed, the film leaves us a feeling of walking along the seashore by inviting slight events in common life, instead of dramatic plot, profound depiction, and direct expression of passion.

Though the film is meaningful, it covers love, acceptance, human value, beauty, politics and self-discovery, the director did not develop these things fully and analyze them further. He just scratched them on the surface. It seems that the director tried to constrain the emotion, possibly because he believed that these things were so delicate that we both could not and need not understand and describe them. We could only sense it by our feeling but could not analyze it by our reason.

Il Postino is a beautiful and touching story of an unlikely friendship between a simple-minded man and a profound poet.

The year is 1952 and the location is a small, poor but beautiful Italian island. Exiled from his homeland, the Chilean communist poet Don Pablo Neruda finds hospitality from his travels and settle down on this small island, where he meets Mario Puppolo, the son of a fisherman who has no intention to follow his father s footstep. He takes the job as Neruda s personal mailman and from that moment on, he begins to weave a web around the poet, a web of devotion of attention and curiosity. Neruda introduces Mario to his world of Poetry. He teaches him how to feel it and love it. And Mario, who is a brilliant student, goes even further: first he learns how to use poetry and then he attempt to write his own poems. And with Neruda s help, Mario wins the heart of a beautiful woman, who inspires his love. And also through discussion with Neruda, Mario finds the strength to take his political stand and begins to weigh his value and mission on the earth. Finally the poet goes back to his homeland and Mario goes back to the tragedies of daily living. After a long absence, Pablo returns back to the island only to find Mario was killed during a riot at a rally, where he was invited to read his poem. He left with Neruda a tape with the most beautiful sound about the island.


The film tells about a simple story, but it tells many things, the most obvious of which is the friendship between the postman and the poet.

A.Portrait of friendship:

The strength and heart of .Il Postino x is its ability to bring the two seemingly opposite men together and finds the middle ground of they both inhabit. Mario may be a simple and uncultured man, but he harbors a great depth of feeling that is just waiting for a means to be let loose. Neruda is gifted and intelligent with a much higher social status, but he shows great sympathy for the working class. The love for poetry brings these two totally different men together, and they develop a profound and sincere friendship.

Their relationship is a kind of mentor and pupil relationship. Neruda introduces Mario the beauty of poetry and the beautiful mastery of language. He awakens the political awareness within Mario and helps him to think about his own value and mission on earth. Compared with Mario s dour father who always turns a deaf ear to him, Neruda is more like a father, spiritually. And Mario, as a student, also influences his mentor. He introduces a fresh perspective in interpreting poetry and a simple and straightforward view towards life. To Mario, Neruda s leaving means not only loss of job, but also the loss of his spiritual prop. After Neruda leaves he s back to the endless pit of boredom and an intense state of melancholy.

As his final gesture of love and devotion to Neruda, Mario write a poem for Neruda, we ll never know if his poem is .poetic x or not, but it comes from the heart and is written with feeling and emotion.

Many audiences do not appreciate the ending of the show. They say Neruda could have written letter to Mario and Mario should not die. But we consider Neruda s not connecting with Mario is quite true and natural. Because to Neruda, Mario is only an episode of his life, Mario is not a really important person to him. Anyway, Neruda occupies a much higher social status than Mario. The director put the conclusion in this way with a bleak overture that the artist and their fans should be equal.

Mario, the simple faithful man touched by beauty, yet doomed to an early death by the capricious hand of fate. Mario s death adds to the emotional power to the film, leaves the film a more complex and poignant story about the pain of growing into one s destiny.

Anyway, the ending of the film leaves us thinking for a long time. Now I would like to look at the ending from another perspective.

You may remember Neruda s promise to Mario: I ll miss you. I ll write to you. But he didn t. You may also remember that Neruda has told Mario about the miner in Pampa. Neruda said, .I felt I had to write something to help the man in his struggle. x But when he was interviewed by newspaper, he did not mention the poor life of the people in Mario s island. He just mention the beauty of that island. To him, are all these people just like the beautiful view? He write them in his poem to show his literary talent and nobility but do not really care for them. Is he like the politicians who cheat the people on the island for their vote? The only different is that he hinds behind beautiful mask of the words of poem.

Indeed, sometimes words is the worst thing. The upper class create the big words (metaphor), the words of so-called art and philosophy which are only mastered by the upper class, blocks the road for the common people to approach to the truth and beauty of life. And also sometimes poetry could damage many thing. It surge the heart of people but does not give them the a way out. Mario fell into a confusion after Neruda s leaving. . I thought you d taken all the beautiful things away with you. But now I realize that you left something behind for me. x When he set out to look for beauty, he fell into the trap of politics. Which he could hardly understand.

The death of Mario, is just the destiny of the weak and helpless naivet when facing the fake but strong hierarchy.

B. The role of poetry:

Poetry is the backbone of the film and it plays a very important role. It s poetry brings Neruda and Mario together, and it s poetry that helps Mario with his love. It is not only a bridge between Mario and Neruda , poetry is used as a self-expression if one s attitude towards life, of one s love and friendship. So use can say poetry is a tool for communication

And actually poetry is also for misunderstanding. And it adds humor to the film. Beatrice aunt assumes that if Mario compares Beatrice s naked breasts to fire, then, he must have seen her naked. When Neruda tries to explain to her that they are only words she shoots back saying .Words are terrible things. First it s his words all over her, then it s his hands. x

C. The Role of Politics:

When people talk about politics, what comes into our mind are the serious face of the politicians, the boring speeches and the fierce party struggles. But here in the movie, politics has a totally different meaning. It s about speaking for the working class. And writing poetry of the mistreat. It s about encouraging common. People to speak up. For their rights and make voice heard. It helps Mario to know more about life, so it has been put a human face.


A. Beautiful and natural setting (by Lornenzo Baraddi):

The movie is cast against the beautiful backdrops of the Mediterranean sea. Some shots such as Mario pedaling his bicycle back and forth. A winding road with the sea and mountains spread out behind him would make wonderful paintings.

Background music:

The director Michael Radford once said, . Music is an essential expression of culture. x His viewpoint is beautifully embodied in this movie.

The words, the acting and the image do not reveal much emotion while the emotion seeps through the music unconsciously.

A. Song of Mario Ruopplo:

The main theme of the movie is called .Bicycle x, composed by Italian composer Bacalov. And this song received the award as the best original score in 1998. It is a simple melody but played by various instrument like clarinet, Bandoneon accordion, piano and violin. It is just like a thread running through the movie and it has become part of the movie from beginning to the end. It suits the film very much and it has become part of the movie. The story is about a simple world, a world inhabited by simple people, whose friendship and love are also very simple, and inevitable the background music is also very simple in order to create a harmonious circumstance.

The motive of music is simple, repeated and folk. It is somewhat like etude. Intended or not, the music contains the philosophy of film, which is that simplicity and nature is beauty.

And also, this piece of music symbolizes Mario. Though he is quite common, yet such common a person has his love, his loneliness, his happiness, and sadness. When we really want to understand them without any preoccupation, we could be surprise to find that they are even as sentimental as the artists, as innocent as child. Just like the plain melody, performed by different instrument, with different rhythm, could express so many beautiful emotions.

The main melody of the music helps to portray Mario. According to the function, I divide the music into three kinds. The first kind reveals the relationship between Mario and Neruda. The second one reveals the love between Mario and Beatrice. The third one reveals Mario s own thought.

Generally speaking, the first kind is quite carefree melodious and lively. From 11:15 to 11:55, this kind of music appears for the first time. Accompanying with the music, is the bright colorful natural view. Mario is riding the bicycle to Neruda s house. This is an implication that in the dull and commonplace life of Mario, Neruda, like fresh breeze, stirs the string of his heart; like the sun, illuminates his world. Since then on, the plain bleak life of Mario became colorful. The road is the turning of Mario s life. Every day through the road, he escapes from the grim real world into a spiritual world. Though he could not quite understand this world, he just worshiping everything Neruda does, though the time is short, it does not bother his happiness.

The second kind of music, fused with the poetry, tells the romance between Mario and Beatrice.

The subtle affection between men and women is one of the most difficult subjects to represent in films. From the first love to passionate love, the complex wave of feeling could hardly be present by conversation and events.

Therefore, the director poetized the process of their love. In this process, music takes an extremely important role.

Take the scene of Mario s first encounter with Beatrice as an example.

Here, the music becomes quite mysterious and vague. We could not help wondering why. Then, we see the dumbstruck Mario. The music turns out to be just the whirl in his brain.

The shoot moves to Beatrice. The music sounds like tidewater trying to surge, but being oppressed. We hear the timidity and hesitation of Mario. We feel the tremble and tension of his heart in the music.

The third kind of the music shows the thought of Mario. If it were the thought of Neruda to be presented by music, the music should be symphony. But for Mario, though Neruda has enlightened his thought to remoteness, his heart remains clear and pure. Here the music reflects both his sensitiveness and purity.

In a word, this piece of music symbolizes Mario. Though he is quite common, yet such common a person has his love, his loneliness, his happiness, and sadness. When we really want to understand them without any preoccupation, we could be surprise to find that they are even as sentimental as the artists, as innocent as child. Just like the plain melody, performed by different instrument, with different rhythm, could express so many beautiful emotions.

B. Song of Don Pablo Neruda:

Another song is an Argentinean tango music .Madres Elva x, sang by Charles Gardel. The poet and his wife dance to the music, expressing their sentimental attachment to their homeland. The song adds the nostalgic element to the movie.

C. Special Narrative:

There are for places the director uses a kind of flash back to narrate the things happen before. The flash-backs are introduced by conversation.

To find the effect of these flash-backs, I assume that the flash-backs were not used.

Take the scene Rosa s cross-examination as an example. If the flash-backs were not used, before the cross-examination, the dating between Mario and Beatrice on the beach would have to be played. The use of flash-backs avoids the repetition of such narrative.

The montage of conversations and recollections ties up the language and images, makes the language of the conversation more vivid, and gives the images the subjective feeling of the narrator.

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