The Miracle | Chicago Reader

The Miracle

Roberto Rossellini's 40-minute 1948 sketch, originally packaged in a compilation film called The Ways of Love, was the subject of a landmark censorship trial in 1951. The Catholic Church objected to Rossellini's “blasphemous” story of a simpleminded peasant woman (Anna Magnani) who sleeps with a tramp she believes is Saint Joseph and prepares to give birth to Christ. It was a bum rap: the director's sincerity is never in doubt. Although it suffers from a sentimentality that was hardly typical of Rossellini (the script, no coincidence, is by Federico Fellini), the film remains a model of the short form, simple and efficient.

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