Paolo and Vittorio Taviani return to the final days of World War II, a period they chronicled in their 1982 masterpiece The Night of the Shooting Stars. (This feature marks the first time that Paolo has directed solo, though he and Vittorio collaborated on the script.) Whereas the earlier film celebrated life going on in wartime, this one is a stark consideration of death, following an Italian resistance fighter as he ventures into a fascist stronghold to rescue a captured compatriot. Flashbacks reveal that both the hero and his friend wooed the same woman, and these episodes relieve tension from the present moment, when the hero knows he can die at any time. The film is less than a hour and a half long, yet the Tavianis make every minute count; this has the concision and intensity one associates with late masterworks. In Italian with subtitles.