A qualified surgeon is urgently called by a party in a small and inadequate private hospital to operate a man in critical condition because of a suicide attempt. This is the protagonist of the film, Benedict Parisi, whose first name seems prophetic of his story. In the waiting room is the companion Joan Micheli, pregnant with him, which—Benedict being alone in the world—gives consent to the risky operation. Her mother, Immaculate, however, hovers in the wings like a vulture, hoping he will die, because she aspires to marry Giovanna off to a lawyer friend of the family, as a better social and economic proposition. The narrative is interwoven with flashbacks to the early life of Benedict. He is an orphan, a lively lad growing up in village in the Latin Valley, under the tutelage of a maiden aunt who is filled with religious scruples, though given to libertine assignations, with which she indoctrinates him. The child is sleepless at night, because of noises from his aunt's room, which is visited by local men: his aunt instead tells him that the noises are a matter of remorse for his bad habits, and he is overcome by guilty feelings resulting from his repressive environment. When the day of his first communion nears, for which he prepares with accentuated religious devotion, he, with the other communicants, is given an effigy of "celestial friends," saints who are expected to assist them until they embrace Jesus. Benedict receives the effigy of Saint Eusebius. On that very night the boy is awoken by noises - one of the aunt's lovers, Giovanni, happens to be visiting. He runs to his aunt's room, and she hides the man in her closet. But the intruder's presence is soon revealed, and the aunt papers over his presence in her room by claiming that in fact Giovanni is St Eusebius. Benedict is told not to inform the priest of what happened, -to do so would only offend the "celestial friends" by what would be a sin of pride. The next morning, while he is affixing a picture of St Eusebius in her wardrobe to commemorate the occasion, he has a glimpse of his aunt, who returns from the bath, in a state of nakedness. She discovers him, and warns him not to say anything to the priest, even in the confession which will be the prelude to his first communion. This prohibition leads to him refraining from telling all of his 'sins' in confession to Father Quirino, and, ashamed by a sense that he has committed a sacrilege, during the first communion he feels that the host has stuck in his throat, and in a panic at incipient suffocation, runs away, only to slip from a wall and fall into a ravine Despite local fears that he has come to a sorry end, he emerges unharmed, and the people proclaim that he has been the beneficiary of a miracle. The boy is dressed up like the saint, and carried in procession, as though he were a veritable icon. The aunt exploits the opportunity this concatenation of coincidences affords her, by ridding herself of this troublesome burden, by sending him to the Franciscan monastery, where he then grows up to maturity.
Per grazia ricevuta
|Runtime||2 hr 2 min|
|Premiere: World||March 19, 1971|
|Premiere: USA||November 21, 1979|
|Production Companies|| |
|Also Known As|| |
Between Miracles (United States)