Friday, November 13, 2009
Italian director Marco Bellocchio's "Vincere" (Italy/France 2009 | in Italian | 128 min.) is a visually stunning biopic about the little known tragic life of Ida Dalser (1880 - 11 December 1937), the notorious dictator Benito Mussolini's first wife.
At the turn of the last century, Ida Dalser (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) opens a beauty salon in Milan. After she meets the ambitious and magnetic Benito Mussolini (Filippo Timi), she passionately falls in love with him. She sells everything she has to support him, and gives birth to a boy Benito Albino Mussolini in 1915.
After Mussolini returns from World War I, not only he abandons socialism and founds fascism, he also marries to another woman Rachele Guidi and shuns Ida and their son Benito Albino Mussolini. Heartbroken Ida refuses to compromise and stubbornly demands the right as Mussolini's wife, even when Mussolini becomes the dictator of Italy and she can only see him in movie theaters or in newspapers. Eventually, she is interned in a psychiatric hospital away from her son.
Love can bring happiness, it also can crush the heart and mind. Even Ida knows this too well, she continues her courageous fight, to the very end. She never gives up.
The film seamlessly blends vast amount of historic footage into its beautiful cinematography, and constructs a fantastic visual rhapsody. Adding the haunting music and the terrific performance from Giovanna Mezzogiorno and Filippo Timi, the film is nothing short from a grand opera.
"Vincere" is an excellent representation of Italian cinema. It is a perfect choice to be the closing night film at this year's New Italian Cinema, co-presented by the San Francisco Film Society, the New Italian Cinema Event, and the Italian Cultural Institute. New Italian Cinema celebrates the rich cinematic tradition of Italy and brings the country's newest directors and films to audiences in San Francisco.
Morgan Craft, Editor