Death of a Neapolitan Mathematician | Chicago Reader

Death of a Neapolitan Mathematician

The film debut of theater director Mario Martone, this 1991 Italian production is loosely based on the life of Renato Caccioppolli, a brilliant mathematics professor, a former communist, and an alcoholic who committed suicide in 1959. Martone presents the final week of Caccioppolli?s life as he wanders about, sometimes lucid, other times not even pretending to follow his students' work. Naples is photographed with care and delicacy, but taken as a whole the film is a crushing bore, less a movie than a series of pictures representing a story. Aside from the way its soporific rhythms suggest the character?s drunkenness—which may or may not be intentional—it never brings the protagonist to life.

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