Toth Database - Cinema

 Abuna Messias





The movie takes place at three years from the end of the Ethiopian war in Abyssinia, recounts the events of the Ethiopian Mission of Cardinal Guglielmo Massaia occurred in the second half of the 19th century.

Massaia Ethiopian language Abuna Messias (Elder Franciscan) accompanied by brother father Leo crosses walk the land of Abyssinia preaching the word of God, during the trip will redeem a slave. The head of the Coptic Church, worried about the presence on its territory of Massawa. The King of Shewa Menelik, recognizing the work of Housewife greets him at his village giving assistance and goods. Certainly the King is also driven by interest in the benefits that the work of the apostolate and in relief at the natives can cause;and for his ties to the Savoy Government in whose help "civilization". But for his part there is also a sincere human affinity with Italian missionary. The relationship between Massawa and Menelik are put at risk by the Alliance between Abuna Athanasius and Princess Além, daughter of Chief-clan of Galla, Abyssinian noble family, who aspires to the throne and who aspired to marry Menelik. The first is envious of honors bestowed by the King to a representative of another religion "; and to get the position of privilege that believes the lies, moves with ruthless cunning: first excommunication anybody associated with the Catholic missionary and invites people to bring down the House in which is placed the seat of his mission; then try to stir up the Emperor of Ethiopia (the "King of Kings", the Negus Neghesti) Johannes, compel Menelik to abandon the policy of opening up to Europe and drive out foreigners from Abyssinia. Failing with the malice, convinces the Negus to stay on his side by threatening to excommunicate him. And so Johannes ìntima to Tutorials to obey him. The King refuses and prepares for war. As to Alèm, after asking a Housewife to intercede for her at Menelik and have cashed the King's refusal, attributes the failure fault to the religious Italian and joins the drawing of Athanasius, guaranteeing to Johannes support of his powerful clan and his army. Meanwhile, oblivious to all these plots, Housewife spends his days helping the population: assists the sick; test, successfully, to develop a primitive form of smallpox vaccine; turns in the villages to administer it to the natives. The popular favor enjoyed is further goad to the envy of Athanasius. While the two sides gird for war (preparations are an opportunity to stage mass folk flavor sequences), Massawa, aware of being the cause or at least the pretext of conflict, went first from Menelik, and later by Johannes for avert hostilities. Is ready to surrender to the emperor. But they let him go, saying he was now obliged to battle. The armed confrontation is hard (with more demanding crowd scenes in open field) and in the end, thanks to the contribution of Galla, Johannes has the upper hand. Despite the victory, decides to be lenient with the loser, allowing it to remain King, but he demanded full submission and intimating-albeit with regret-a Housewife returning to Italy, to give satisfaction to the Copts. So, Housewife is forced to abandon his mission. On the way out of the country, after greeting and blessed the loyalist father Leo, who dies, the religious is accompanied to the border by a multitude of people, grateful to him for the good material and spiritual made around that time.


  Film notes


Country of origin: Italy

Year: 1939

Duration: 96 min

Color: black and white

Directed By: Goffredo Alessandrini

Subject: Callisto V.k., Luigi Bernardi

Screenplay: Goffredo Alessandrini, Vittorio Cottafavi, Domenico Meccoli, Cesare Vico Lane

Producer: Alexander Ganga for R.E.F.

Distribution: Generalcine

Cinematography: Aldo Tonti

Editing: Giorgio Simonelli

Music: Mario Gaudiosi, Licinio Refice

Art Director: Carlo Pouchain

Costume Design: Guido Cribs

Makeup: Roberto Pak





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