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La Leggenda del Santo Bevitore

The Legend of the Holy Drinker

Italy / France 1988
produced by
Roberto Cicutto, Mario Cecchi Gori (executive), Vittorio Cecchi Gori (executive) for Cecchi Gori Group, Tiger Cinematografica, Aura Film, RAI
directed by Ermanno Olmi
starring Rutger Hauer, Anthony Quayle, Sandrine Dumas, Dominique Pinon, Sophie Segalen, Cécile Paoli, Jean-Maurice Chanet, Joseph De Medina, Francesco Aldighieri, Françoise Pinkwasser, Joséphine Lecaille, Maria Mazzocco, Dalila Belatreche
screenplay by Tullio Kezich, Ermanno Olmi, based on the novel by Joseph Roth, music by José Padilla

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Andreas (Rutger Hauer) is an alcoholic vagrant, usually sleeping under bridges and living merely from one day to the next. Then though, a stranger (Anthony Quayle) hands him 200 Francs to help him through a rough patch, with the only condition that he returns the money to Saint Thérèse at a certain church in the city whenever he's able to. This is the beginning of a stroke of luck, as Andreas (at least at first) doesn't spend the money unwisely, just on little creature comforts, like a shave and a coffee and the like, and making himself more presentable in consequence - and before he knows it he has a job that makes him 200 more Francs. Thus he plans to return the money this very Sunday - but ultimately gets so drunk in the café across the church that he misses Mass.

Fortunately for him, Andreas finds more money, and again makes big plans to return the money, even promises Saint Thérèse, who appears to him in a dream (and is played by Dalila Belateche), to do so come Sunday - but again, fate intervenes, this time in shape of a dancing girl (Sandrine Dumas) who becomes his lover for two nights and a friend (Dominique Pinon), who talks him out of the money meant for church.

Andreas gets more and more opportunities to get to money and return it, but fate has long put him on a downward spiral, and despite his most honest ambitions, he seems less and less likely to ever succeed ...


The Legend of the Holy Drinker is most certainly a very unusual film as instead of hammering home a point it combines motives both religious and profane to a multi-layered plot that slowly unfolds from a rather simplistic premise to a complex narrative that leaves many of its subplots intentionally underexplored and thus open for one's own interpretations, and that's held together by Rutger Hauer's very nuanced performance as the well-meaning but fallible drunkard and an elegant yet subtle directorial effort that manages to create a world all of its own to tell its story in.

Well worth a watch!


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner


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