We first meet Mario, a failed fisherman, as he finds work in the Chilean postal service, delivering the mail to just one address, the house of Pablo Neruda. He falls in love with a local girl and hopes that the great poet will help him win her over. Metaphors abound and Skármeta’s simple, erotic and often hilarious love story runs in parallel to the turbulent political events that were unfolding in Chile just over half a century ago.

When Pinochet seized power from the democratically elected Salvatore Allende in 1973, he immediately began a purge of left leaning activists, writers and intellectuals. Skármeta himself had no choice but to leave Chile and only returned in 1990. Il Postino, the Italian film directed by Michael Radford, was adapted from Skármeta’s novel. It stars the iconic Massimo Troisi as Mario, who tragically died the day after filming was completed. When I read the book I always imagine his amazingly expressive face and voice, and I can’t resist sharing this wonderful clip…

 

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The Postman (Il Postino)
Title: The Postman (Il Postino)
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