Mal'aria (2009)

Réalisateur: Paolo Bianchini

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Évaluation: 7.0/10


The time is the Twenties. Dr. Carlo Rambelli, inspector for the Ministry of Health, is sent to the Ravenna area to investigate a presumed epidemic of malaria. Once he has reached his native Romagna, Rambelli finds he has to grapple with the elementary life in ghost towns and with the strange deaths of two doctors: the province doctor and the country doctor. The story, which began with a self-possessed, elegiac narration, starts being tinged with suspense and mystery. In the end it will take on the distinct colours of the splattered nightmare. This novel of Baldini's is well constructed, a 'visual' cinema narration. In particular, the description of the horizontal Ravenna countryside is suggestive, with the open plains, the silence, the fog. The characters are vivid: aside from Dr. Rambelli, a gentleman who lent himself to medicine, there is Elsa, the woman of the people full of sensuality and primitive charm, whom the lead character falls in love with, questioning his own marriage relationship; Bellenghi, the federal ignoramus, bossy and violent, symbol of local power and muscular Fascist squad member; Giuseppe, a sensitive, solitary, intelligent child, capable of seeing dead people. Malaria, Fascism, medicine are the topics tackled by the author in the book, and also the explosive mixture that can come from the combination of corruption with a primitive, backward, superstitious mentality extraneous to the scientific rationalism of medicine and the codified rules of civil living.


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