Synopsis by Mark Deming
This wartime drama concerns a Catholic priest who finds his beliefs tested by his desire to defeat fascism and his love for a woman. Don Paolo (Anthony LaPaglia) is a priest in a small Italian village during World War II. While he espouses pacifism and non-violence, his words fall on increasingly less receptive ears as the anti-fascist Partisans, led by Capt. Zito (Dan Hedaya), become a greater force in the community. When an American solider parachutes into the village to encourage the Partisans to keep up their fight until Allied troops can liberate Italy, Zito's men step up their activities, leading fascist troops to capture, torture, and execute Zito's right hand man, Aldo (Jorge Sanz). After Aldo's death, one of Don Paolo's associates, Don Sebastiano (David Neal), decides that he can no longer stand idly by and watch his people be butchered; he joins the underground forces and helps ambush a group of Nazi soldiers, which leads to his death. After Don Sebastiano's passing, Don Paolo finally agrees to help Zito's forces by delivering a schedule of bridge bombings to American operatives in a neighboring town, though his nerve begins to fail him en route. Amidst the village's political turmoil, Don Paolo has become acquainted with Adriana (Embeth Davidtz), a beautiful woman working with the Partisans; he has developed a romantic attraction to her which she obviously shares, and as he struggles to keep his emotions in check and stay true to his vows, he is forced to call upon her for help in order to complete his mission for Zito. Based on a short story by Anthony DiFranco, The Garden of Redemption was intended to be the first in a series of films based on stories about World War II, produced for cable television.
accusation, Nazism, pacifism, paratrooper, priest, rescue, resistance, survivor, war