Reborn (1981)

REBORN (1981)
Article 3458 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-24-2010
Posting Date: 2-1-2011
Directed by Bigas Luna
Featuring Dennis Hopper, Michael Moriarty, Antonella Murgia
Country: Spain / USA / Italy
What it is: Religious fantasy

A TV preacher / faith healer finds himself paired up with an Italian woman to make a countrywide tour. The woman’s healing powers are real, however, and when the man who brings her to America leaves her pregnant, complications arise.

This was one of those movies that, for most of its running time, had me wondering what the point of it was going to be. I didn’t get the gist of it until late in the movie, when the woman in question goes into labor and gives birth in a gas station; a decoration in the door of the station gave me the clue I needed, and though I haven’t sorted everything out with absolute clarity, I can say at the very least that this satire on faith healing is not the work of a skeptic, but of a believer. It was this clue, for example, that made me understand what the purpose of the mysterious helicopter was, and I’m actually quite taken by the realization of what it symbolized. My print runs only about 92 minutes, and the whole movie runs 105 minutes, so I’m probably missing something. The movie is often confusing, but it’s anchored by three fine performances; both Dennis Hopper and Antonella Murgia are very good, but Michael Moriarty really steals the movie with an unusual and offbeat role. One final note: since I don’t gear my watching system towards the holidays, it’s rare when I actually watch a movie that’s fitting for a holiday. This may be an exception; once you know what it’s about, it’s a fitting choice for Christmas Eve.

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