Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 2nd, 2006
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 2000
Director: Carlo Carlei
Cast: Jurgen Prochnow, Elio Germano, Lorenza Indovina, Tosca D’Aquino, Sergio Castellitto, Adolfo Lastretti, Flavio Insinna
DVD released: May 30th, 2005
Approximate running time: 214 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Non-Anamorphic
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Italian, Dolby Digital Spanish
DVD Release: No Shame
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: Francesco Forgione (Sergio Castellitto) grew up in poverty in Italy. He decided to become a priest after having visions of Jesus and Mary. He would change his name to Padre Pio after he joined the priesthood as a Friar. In 1918 while praying to god to show him a sign about how he should best help those around him a stigmata that would leave Christ like wounds on his hands and feet would be his answer from god. His wounds where undeniably real and yet many in the church believed he was a fraud. He is temporarily removed from his duties as a priest before finally being reinstated after a public outcry. The church continues to doubt Padre Pio and his miracles while his followers grow in numbers. The Vatican sends a Visitatore (Jürgen Prochnow) too speak with Padre Pio shortly before his death.
Padre Pio just as he had in life remains an enigma in death. Director Carlo Carlei’s biographic look at what many consider to be the twentieth century’s most beloved saint is a fairly even account told through a series of flashbacks in which Padre Pio tells the Vatican’s grand Visitatore his tell. Carlei beautiful compositions are accentuated by the amazing sets and locations which look as they did when the events in the film actually happened.
For three and half hours there is a lot of ground covered with all the major events of Padre Pio’s life being covered. One minor complaint about how Director Carlo Carlei depiction of as someone who is without flaws. He is always shown in a good light and when he encounters any real trouble he always prevails. I guess one could chalk this up to good verse evil scenario. The film is moving piece that can be enjoyed even if you are not a religious person and this is mostly due to powerful storytelling and a brilliant performance by actor Sergio Castellitto.
No Shame presents Padre Pio Miracle Man in its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. This film was shot for television and it is presented here in a non anamorphic widescreen. Details look crisp with close up and medium range shots faring slightly better then wider angle shots. Black levels remain strong through out. There are some minor instances of edge enhancement, still nothing that ever becomes excessive or distracting.
This release comes with two audio options Italian and Spanish language tracks which are presented here in a Dolby Digital stereo. Both audio mixes sound robust and offer crystal clear dialog. There are no problems with hiss or any other sound defects. The dialog is razor sharp and always easy to discern from the rest of the mix. Removable English subtitles that are easy to follow and free of any typos have been included.
No Shame has also included with this release a collectible booklet which includes bios for Carlo Carlei and Sergio Castellitto. The booklet also includes three text pieces titled The Canonization of St Pio of Pietrelcina, John Paul 2 – Angelus and The Life of a Saint. Also included in the booklet is a text interview with SergioCastellitto.
Outside of the collectible booklet the only other extra for this release is a brief still gallery. Overall Padre Pio Miracle Man is remarkable film that now can be finally seen via No Shame’s superb DVD release, recommended.