"No one is so completely disenchanted with the world, or knows it so thoroughly, or is so utterly disgusted with it, that when it begins to smile upon him he does not become partially reconciled to it."
Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837) was a poet, philosopher, essayist and philologist. Although he lived in Recanati, a secluded town in the ultra-conservative Papal States, he came in touch with the most important thoughts of the Enlightenment, and, by his own literary evolution, created an extraordinary and celebrated poetic work, related to the Romantic era. Although Giacomo Leopardi did not attain the fame he deserved in his lifetime, he is now regarded as one the greatest poets in Italian literature.
Speaking of Giacomo Leopardi, yesterday morning it was a very special school day for me as well as for some of my colleagues and our students. In fact, we went to the cinema in Rome to see the movie "Il Giovane Favoloso". Directed by Mario Martone and released in Italy last October, it is a dolefully gorgeous movie based on the life of this superb poet. One of the best Italian movies I have ever seen, believe you me!
In truth, I have loved Giacomo Leopardi since I was a student at high school because of his incomparable creative genius, his intense depiction of human life as solitary and futile, his intuition of universal pain, of the transience of things, of the inexorable passing of time, of the blind power of nature - the German philosopher Schopenhauer wrote that Leopardi presented the "mockery and wretchedness of this existence ... but with such a variety of forms and expressions, with such a richness of images, that he never induces displeasure, but instead stimulates and engages us." (The World as Will and Representation, Vol II, 46). He was indeed the first European writer to portray and examine the self in a way that feels familiar to us today.
Here you can read a very interesting review from The Guardian.
You can also read Roberto Saviano's review of this "fabulous" movie in Italian here.
Click here to discover ten other movies based on the life of some famous poets.