Il Postino

by KE Monahan Huntley

IL Postino recounts the story of a diffident postman and a world renown poet, set against a backdrop of conflicting political, societal, and spiritual ideologies (objective story domain of psychology; os concern of conceiving). Mario, the main character, is the son of a fisherman existing on a slow, picturesque, Italian island. The opening shot depicts this sad eyed soul turning over a postcard from America--a land he equates with impossible dreams. Mario lives in the moment (mc concern of the present), almost in a state of arrested development--yet it is his immaturity edged with unnamed longings that charms us. Mario is a do-er, but he is certainly no action figure. When faced with a problem, his approach is to irritate, making him impossible to ignore. As one of the few literate persons on the island (mc domain of universe), the accepted (os problem) way of life does not appeal to him--and with his father's tacit permission (os issue) he takes on the position of a postman with only one addressee.

Pablo Neruda, the influence character, is a Communist exiled from Chile for articulating his views (ic problem of proaction) despite the consequences (fixed state of mind). The Italian government has decided to: "Suspend measures against Neruda requested by the Chilean government" (driver of decision), and allow the poet to remain on Mario's beautiful, yet economically depressed (os counterpoint of deficiency), island.

The postman is a true romantic, entranced by how the poet and his wife ". . . call each other 'amor.'" He begins to ingratiate himself with Neruda to learn the language of poetry, using his male mental sex to strike up a rapport. Mario buys the poet's books and recites Neruda's words to evidence his seriousness. Thus, in spite of himself (ic concern of conscious), Pablo bemusedly enters into a maestro/studente relationship with his postman (rs domain of physics; concern of learning).

Mario's sudden attraction (mc issue) to the local beauty, Beatrice, accelerates his and Pablo's relationship story throughline. Mario demands of his teacher to write a poem to impress his intended (rs catalyst of preconditions), a request Pablo refuses. Undaunted, Mario plagiarizes his poetry (mc response of proaction), and wins the fair barmaid's heart, much to the fury of her aunt who has forbidden the courtship (os issue).

Pablo is mollified by Mario's words: "Poetry doesn't belong to those who write it, but by those who need it," and with the priest's permission (os issue), stands up for the postman at his wedding to Beatrice. During the celebration, Pablo and Matilde receive notice that the Chilean government has lifted the ban (os issue) and the poet decides to immediately return home, after promising Mario he will stay in touch.

Time passes with no word, and certain doubts (ic unique ability) about the friendship is what finally compels Mario to start (mc growth) to create his own poetry. He writes a song for the sea and dedicates it to Pablo Neruda. Mario is invited to read the poem at a Communist demonstration. He has matured (resolve of change) and is thrilled (judgment of good) to express his own metaphors to the world.

Years later Pablo and his wife return to the island. It has remained unchanged. Politicians have not fulfilled their promises and the inhabitants have made no protest (outcome of failure; os solution of nonacceptance). The poet learns that Mario had died in the demonstration--melancholic, he strolls the white sands along the sea and reminisces (ic benchmark) under the unrelenting sun.

That Massimo Troisi (Mario) died the day after filming lends a tragic poignancy to IL Postino. The film has a meandering feel, attributed to its vague optionlock and rather abstruse story goal. It is, however, an unusual storyform (at least at this point in time) which makes it most interesting to analyze.

About the Author

KE Monahan Huntley is an editor and publisher based in Southern California. As one of the original contributors to Dramatica, she helped edit and analyze many of the examples. In addition, her numerous articles provided an insightful "conversational" approach to the theory. Today she can be found at Write Between the Lines or follow her on Twitter @kemhuntley.

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