Nelle sale ‘Il Professore e il pazzo’ con due premi Oscar

Il libro di Simon Winchester, Il professore e il pazzo, ha due straordinari protagonisti, il primo è William Chester Minor, il pazzo, il secondo James Augustus Henry Murray, il professore.

26marzo di Donatella Nesti

Le vite di questi due uomini, così diversi fra loro, si intrecciarono sorprendentemente a causa del il New English Dictionary on Historical Principles, detto poi Oxford English Dictionary, noto con l’acronimo OED, un dizionario unico al mondo e frutto della tenacia di Murray, il suo direttore editoriale, che vi dedicò tutta la vita. Il film tratto dal libro  è dunque la storia vera del Professor James Murray (Mel Gibson) al quale in piena epoca vittoriana viene affidata la redazione del primo dizionario al mondo che racchiuda tutte le parole di lingua inglese. Per far ciò il Professore avrà l’idea di coinvolgere la gente comune invitandola a mandare via posta il maggior numero di parole possibili. Arrivato però ad un punto morto, riceve la lettera di William Chester (Sean Penn) un ex medico finito in galera prima e in manicomio poi in Gran Bretagna, per aver ucciso un semplice cittadino inglese erroneamente scambiato per la persona dalla quale il dottor Minor si sente apparentemente perseguitato, un disertore americano da lui marchiato a fuoco all’epoca in cui aveva messo le proprie arti mediche al servizio dell’esercito statunitense.  Le migliaia di parole che il Dr. Chester manda via posta sono talmente fondamentali per la compilazione del dizionario che i due formeranno un’insolita alleanza che si trasformerà in una splendida amicizia.

Dice il regista Shemran.: “Ciò che avevo di fronte a me era una storia intensa e molto contemporanea, come The Social Network e The Imitation Game. Le speranze, le ambizioni e le lotte del Professore e del suo collaboratore pazzo non hanno solo una sorprendente somiglianza con quelle di Zuckerberg, Jobs e Gates, ma sono quasi un loro presagio. Non è un film d’epoca, è un film completamente attuale che sembra essere ambientato in un periodo precedente”

Due vicende in parallelo: da una parte Murray alle prese con la diffidenza degli accademici di Oxford e con la moglie(Jennifer Ehle) che soffre il totale isolamento del marito dalla famiglia, votato com’è a quest’impresa sovrumana e dall’altra Minor, alle prese col direttore del manicomio – a tratti fiducioso che l’impegno per il vocabolario possa contribuire alla guarigione a tratti spietato nel tentare sulla pelle del povero Minor feroci esperimenti “curativi” – ed anche il difficile rapporto con la vedova (Natalie Dormer) dell’uomo ammazzato, in un tentativo apparentemente impossibile di redenzione. Due premi Oscar a confronto ed un’ambientazione che, in un momento di problematica ‘brexit’, fa rimpiangere l’ Inghilterra ottocentesca.

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