Why Italy's singing nun is like (so many) movies

Italy's famous singing nun from 'The Voice' echoes the story of several movies
Sister Cristina, the singing nun of Italy's 'The Voice,' has her doubles on the silver screen

Italy, as you may have heard, is in the throes of Sister-mania. That would be Sister Cristina Scuccia, a singing nun who has wowed audiences and judges with her pipes on the Italian version of “The Voice” these last few months.

It’s hard to read about or watch the woman belt out a chorus — she was scheduled to go on again Wednesday night after earlier singing doozies accompanied by the likes of Alicia Keys and performing unlikely pop ditties such as "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" 1— without thinking of a film or three.

Scuccia’s story most obviously has echoes of Whoopi Goldberg’s “Sister Act,” the hit franchise in which a group of the Lord's faithful let loose in joyous, surprisingly rock-y song. (Goldberg has tweeted her approval of the real-life hummer-in-a-habit.)

There's, of course, also Paul Potts, the shy working-class man who was an electric jolt of an opera singer on a reality show in England a few years back and who inspired the movie  “One Chance,” in which the character is played by stage star James Corden. The film is set for an August release in the U.S. (For good measure, it was partly shot in Italy.)

There are even elements of “The Full Monty,” another unlikely-performer story, though we doubt you’d see the good sister at any show performed by Gaz and the boys.

And with its Italian reality-show setting, it’s hard to avoid thoughts of the Italian-language “Reality,”  Matteo Garrone's Cannes favorite from a few years back about a fishmonger dad who wants nothing more than to compete on an Italian reality competition show (in this case, “Big Brother") and goes to increasingly absurd lengths to realize his dream. Reality TV knows not from class or profession.

Meanwhile, Scuccia continues to march on. Depending on how she does when the season is said and done, she and her unlikely story may well inspire a film. Then again, she may not need it to. She's already channeled several of them.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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