[People, there's no imdb entry for this film. I didn't think it was possible, but it's true. I think a little part of me died when the imdb failed me that way...]
Der Wille der Sterne (I think the original title might be Un gesto di coraggio. Or it might be the Italian title and the German is the original… honestly, without the imdb, I’m kinda lost. The English translation, in any case, is mine and from the German title) is a movie about Cecco d’Ascoli by Piero Maria Benfatti [who doesn't have a really meaningful imdb entry either*], starring Tobias Moretti, Robert Stadlober, Remo Girone, Gianni Musy and Toni Bertorelli.
Cecco (Tobias Moretti) came from Bologna to Florence and quickly finds himself in the favour of the local duke when he predicts the defeat of Louis IV via horoscope. His subsequent promotion galls Dino del Garbo (Remo Girone) who was supposed to get the job in the first place. Since Dino had already worked with Cecco in Bologna and had already accused him of heresy there, he quickly hatches a plan to accuse him again. Cecco is locked away while an inquisitor (Toni Bertorelli) sits in trial over him. Cecco strikes up a friendship with his cellmate Paolo (Robert Stadlober) which might yet be his biggest mistake.
The film suffers from a small budget, a rather bad script and a pretty talentless director. That the cast isn’t all bad is unfortunately not enough to save much.
It is absolutely apparent that there was not much money involved in the making of this film. The sets and costumes suffer from this since everything is incredibly spare and there are about 5 extras in the whole film and everybody wears the same clothes all the time. While that is charming in some productions, it just looks really cheap here.
It’s also at odds with the (rather purple) language filled with pathos and the fact that everybody seems to give speeches all the time – there’s barely any dialogue, it seems. But the script was generally rather bland and had some very heavy-handed exposition.
Under these circumstances, the cast was pretty much wasted. Moretti is a good actor, as is Stadlober and I thought I saw glimpses of actual talent in the other cast members as well. But they never manage to infuse their characters with much life and so you’re never really sure why you should care about any of this anyway**.
Benfatti doesn’t help either. While the opening shows promise, it is quickly lost in the sheer unimaginative way he sets this film in scene. It’s all a little “been there, seen that.”
Summarising: it’s no wonder nobody has ever heard of this film. And not a big loss, either.
*Maybe I just dreamed I saw the film? Maybe the film doesn’t actually exist?
**It might also be because I just couldn’t really be outraged because a guy was sentenced to death because of writing horoscopes. Did you ever read some? Seriously, most people who write them probably deserve to die.***
*** Okay, I don’r really believe this. But I almost do.