Una Strana Passione (1984)

Run Time - 95 min.  |   Countries - France, Italy  |  
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Based on Heinrich Von Kleist's novel, "The Foundling," Strana Passione twists and turns through the death of one son, adoption of another, and the latter's ultimately tragic relationship with his adoptive parents. While out in his carriage with his young son, Piachi (Fernando Rey) picks up Nicolò, an orphaned street urchin, and takes him to a clinic where Piachi's son catches a virulent sickness plaguing the town, eventually succumbing to the illness. Piachi is grief-stricken and reaches out to Nicolò, deciding to adopt him into the family and raise him as though he were his own son. The once-impoverished orphan is multi-talented but not necessarily virtuous, and after reaching manhood, he marries an appropriate woman for his station in life but chases after the gorgeous mistress of a local bishop. The next woman he pursues is Elvira (Brigitte Fossey), his own adopted mother, using a ruse because he looks just like a man she loved long ago. His scheme unbalances what is left of the woman's delicate emotional health, and she loses touch with reality as she retreats into her own world. Before Piachi can retaliate, Nicolò uses his legal rights to evict Piachi and his ailing wife from their own home -- a violent and extreme action that pushes Piachi over the edge -- and seals the fate of Nicolò and of Piachi himself. Throughout this complicated tale of moral turpitude, Nicolò has no visible motivation for his actions, which leaves a hollow core and no depth at the heart of the story.

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Keywords

adoption, death, disease, grief, poverty, rampage, sociopath, son