The film was placed during the late 1930s in between different kinds of dictatorship that existed between 1918 and 1939. Ettore Scola's film shows how some people were marginalized in society. Carlo Levis book Christ Stopped at Eboli also illustrates the state of people in the fascists southern Italy where the villagers of Eboli were a forgotten existence. The social state of the people was devastating in the sense that there were poor medical facilities and the doctors in the village were not even trusted by the locals who went to Carlo for treatment. The people had no religious system believing in mystical powers and spells instead of The Church (God and Jesus Christ).The only education was provided by the mayor who was doing little of his task (Twisselmann c3420-c3420).
The main characters in the film are Antonietta an overworked, sentimental middle-class homemaker, partly her husband (Vernon) a domineering fascist official and Gabriel a bachelor by circumstance, smart and has a soft nature. In the film, we see that Antonietta remains behind at home when the rest of the family goes out to the parade when Hitler was visiting Mussolini. She stays at home because at a larger perspective in the fascist Italy, women were encouraged to be good mothers ("A Special Day").
Antonietta takes care of the house, her children and her husband showed in the film where she is seen early in the morning trying to pull socks on her sons feet who is not really helpful. She is denied the right to political participation, in that, the work she does in the house keeps her too busy to attend the parade. In the fascist regime, women were expected to bear many children to the extent that families were given a set minimum by the state of 5 children. Families that were large received better tax benefits from the state.
Gabriele is a radio broadcaster who lost his job because he was an anti-fascist and a homosexual. He is denied his human rights because of his sexual orientation and as a result, he faces deportation and does not attend the parade either. In the fascist Italy mainly dominated by the male gender and they imposed a strict traditional gender role whereby homosexuality was a crime to the state ("A Special Day"). Anti-gay legislation ensured that any homosexual individual was tried and deported out of the country. I quote A man is not a man unless hes a husband, a father, and a soldier Being anti-fascist and a broadcaster in the mass media controlled nation, his position was a threat to the government of Mussolini.
Juxtaposition refers to where characters and their actions are placed side by side in order to achieve the purpose of making comparisons. Gabriele and Antonietta are the only people in their apartment building who do not attend the meeting. Antoniettas parrot flies away and attempting to catch it she knocks at Gabriele door. They meet, talk (arguing) and end up having sexual intercourse and during their interactions we hear news reporting the proceeding at the parade from a radio which overwhelms the little gramophone on which Gabriele plays on. Ettore juxtaposes the gentle and tender caring nature of their interaction with the noisy and hate-inducing actions of the crowd worshipping Hitler heard on the radio.
"A Special Day". The Criterion Collection. N.p., 2016. Web. 3 May 2016.
Twisselmann, B. "Christ Stopped At Eboli". BMJ 340.jun30 2 (2010): c3420-c3420. Web.
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