Christ Stopped at Eboli (1979)
Gian Maria Volonte (Levi), Irene Papas (earthy housekeeper Giulia Venere), Paolo
Bonacelli (Don Luigi Magalone), Alain Cuny (Barone Nicola Rotunno), Lea Massari (Luisa Levi),
François Simon (Don Trajella)
“Christ stopped at Eboli”, say the southern Italians, meaning that they are "not Christian,"
uncivilized, forgotten, and deprived. Physician, writer, and painter, Carlo Levi was arrested and
'exiled' from his home in Turin for opposing Fascism during the Abyssinian war (1935). This
movie is taken from the memoir of his life that he wrote as a political prisoner under house arrest
in a malaria-ridden village in Lucania (Basilicata) during that year.
1935. The doctor-painter from Turin, Carlo Levi, condemned to exile by the Fascist Regime,
arrives at the train station in Eboli (a small city south of Naples) and is accompanied by two
to the desolate land of Lucania (or Basilicata), in specific to the village of Gagliano.
Through his walks with his dog through the town, Carlo meets the different characters of
Gagliano, listening to their stories and advice. He meets some cardinal characters such as the
priest Don Trajella, the shrewd fascist mayor Don Luigi, the mysterious townswoman Giulia and
others. Carlo begins to familiarize with the local peasants, to whom he begins to direct some
medical attention and with whom he solidarizes. The conquer of Abyssinia by hand of the fascists
grants freedom and he returns to Turin, filled with memories.
The movie is available at the Media Center of Snell Library.