In this engrossing and human tale, Mel (Alberto Fumagalli) is an astronomer-priest who sees a star shoot across the sky one night and realizes that it is a sign that the "King of Kings" has arrived on earth. Excited, he gathers together a rag-tag group of devout believers and with a treasure chest of valuable objects given by the king, Mel starts out with his band. Their long caravan encounters various hardships and adventures, until one day when dawn arrives, they are face-to-face with two other astronomer-priests, one on a camel and the other on an elephant, heading in the same direction. The three Magi (Persian for priest) continue on together, following the star, until they reach Bethlehem. After finding a small baby, they consult with each other -- they had not expected the long and arduous journey to end in a lowly stable, and at the tiny feet of a newborn. And should they inform King Herod of their discovery or not? With in-depth characterization and a scaled-down view of the nature of the Magi and their followers, director and writer Ermanno Olmi has created an interesting, long film (nearly three hours in the cut version) that is entertaining and well-wrought.
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