Mass Is Ended, The / La messa è finita (1985)

2.0 out of 5

On the face of it, a comedy based on a priest returning to his parents' village to preach the word to the licentious locals has plenty of room for humour. Unfortunately, much of the comedy comes from the predictable reactions of the townsfolk to the earnest young preacher. There are the touches of pathos that director and star Nanni Moretti would bring to his later work, but here they seem strained, and detract from any potential comedic atmosphere.

A particularly downbeat ending finishes off proceedings, and anyone wishing to enjoy an amusing priest-led comedy would be better off with an old episode of Father Ted instead.

The only reason to watch this is to admire Moretti's technical brilliance in bringing a genuine feeling of a small community to the screen, instead of peopling the village with stereotypes, and making the most of the gorgeous scenery.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics