The Postman

Mario (Massimo Troisi)
Il Postino – Locandina
Neruda e Mario
Neruda e Mario

The film was inspired by Il postino di Neruda (Ardiente paciencia), a novel written by the Chilean author Skarmeta, and was the Italian actor, Massimo Troisi’s last film.

Set on a small Island in the South in 1952, where the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (Philippe Noiret) had been exiled. Mario Ruoppolo (Massimo Troisi), is a local youngster, one of the few literate villagers, who doesn’t want to be a fisherman and offers to be the postman for the enormous amount of correspondence the poet receives. Each day, delivering the mail becomes an opportunity for the two to converse and a beautiful friendship is established. Mario learns about poetry and metaphors and is fascinated by the magic of the poet’s verses. Mario is in love with Beatrice (Maria Grazia Cucinotta) and uses poetry to conquer her heart, leading to marriage. The poet returns to Chile and Mario and Beatrice discover she is expecting a baby boy, who is called Pablito, in Neruda’s honour.

Mario is requested to send some of the things Neruda left on the island and discovers his friend’s tape recorder and decides to record the magic sounds of his beloved island: the sea and the wind, even the Church bells. But not just sounds; Mario writes a poem for the poet, “Song for Pablo Neruda”, who receives the tape and Mario’s memoires five years later when he returns to the island. But Mario is not there to meet him. In fact, the postman was beaten to death during a communist political rally, leaving behind his wife and their five year old son.

Neruda meets the young boy in the local inn, attracted by the name “Pablito” that the boy’s mother called, clearly in his honour.

The film ends with a sad and solitary walk with Neruda overcome by the news and memories of the privileged friendship that changed his life and that of his lost friend.


Part of the multi award-winning film – Oscar (1996), BAFTA (1996) and David di Donatello (1995) – was shot in Salina, on the Aeolian Islands, and in Pantelleria. The Postman’s house is the one that overlooks the bay of Pollara in Salina, the setting for many of the natural landscape scenes. Pantelleria, on the other hand, is the background for Mario’s bike rides: mountains that flank the cobalt blue sea, the breathtaking panorama captured in the scenes of the film directed by Michael Radford. The stony beach that appears in many scenes, tucked in between the sea and the cliffs, is also in Salina and, in particular, the so-called “postman’s beach”, the one that looks out onto the island of Filicudi is characterized by a hole in the rock face that towers above it.

Sicilian is the setting for the film by which Troisi will always be remembered; Sicilian is the female protagonist, the actress Maria Grazia Cucinotta from Messina.