Posts Tagged ‘Vincere’

Fist of Film: Bellocchio’s Best

March 19, 2010

For a while, it looked like we had lost Marco Bellocchio. Following his 1965 debut Fists in the Pocket, the Italian philosophy student-turned-director was an indelible presence at the art house. His satires on the hypocrisy of church, state and middle class displayed tremendous filmmaking flair, earning comparisons to Jean Vigo and Max Ophüls. Then his films stopped crossing the Atlantic.

Intellectual bitterness was out of fashion until a new generation of directors like Il Divo Paolo Sorrentino, La meglio gioventu ’s Marco Tullio Giordana and Sabina Guzzanti’s Viva Zapatero took up Bellocchio’s slack. With the Silver Ribbon-winning Vincere, he’s back in theatres. In typical fashion, the love/hate story of Benito Mussolini and his lover Ida Dasler is also the story of how fascism seduced a nation. Here’s five more of his films you need to see.

I pugni in tasca (Fists in the Pocket) (1965)

In a sun-baked estate, a family of epileptics idles away the days driving each other crazy. Alessandro (Lou Castel), however, has a plan to end the generational disease forever. Flaunting his own perverse streak, the 26-year-old Bellocchio got his relatives to fund a film about the ultimate dysfunctional clan, and then shot it in the house where he grew up. The simmering rage impressed many, but Luis Bunuel and Antonioni both gave their acolyte’s first film the thumbs down.

La Cina è vicina (China is Near) (1967)

How do you follow one of the great debuts of the 1960s? By unleashing your deviants into the world. While Prof. Malvezzi breaks into politics on the socialist side, his promiscuous sister Elena (co-scenarist Elda Tattoli) brings the class war into the boudoir. On the outside looking in are a scheming pair of office workers who think marrying into this bunch will be their ticket to the good life. The vicious satire is set to a score by Ennio Morricone.

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Must See Movies: March

March 1, 2010

Spring is busting out all over, even if Squally is currently looking out at several inches of snow at this writing. While the past few months have offered slim pickings for cineastes on a budget, March comes in with returning masters and new discoveries. So many, in fact, that we’ve extended our usual handful to a mighty six. Among the delights in store: Zoe Kazan, fascist mistresses, Lolitas in platforms, and Ben Stiller turning his neuroses up to 11. Sorry funseekers, no Hot Tub Time Machine. Click on the titles for trailers and more.

The Exploding Girl
Release date: March 12
The pitch: Ivy (Zoe Kazan) juggles a distant boyfriend and a close pal while taking a break from college.
Fun fact: Writer-director Bradley Rust Gray is married to Treeless Mountain helmer So Yong Kim!
Why it could be great: Zoe Kazan’s had us since her delicate turn in Me and Orson Welles. And who doesn’t like a summer-set mood piece released in the middle of March?
Why it could suck: Oh.

Green Zone
Release date: March 12
The pitch: Matt Damon reunites with director Paul Greengrass to fight the war in Iraq. Based on the acclaimed book Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran.
Fun fact: Greengrass collaborated with onetime M15 agent Peter Wright on Spycatcher, a 1987 bestseller which lifted the lid on Britain’s Secret Service.
Why it could be great: Damon and Greengrass’s Bourne films made palm’s sweat glands work overtime.
Why it could suck: Iraq? Again?

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Good Morning, Night: The Dark is Rising

October 28, 2009

Il Divo (2008) may have needed footnotes, but the satirical swipe at Giulio “Prince of Darkness” Andreotti revealed that Italian politics is never dull. In 1978, prime minister Aldo Moro was kidnapped by a terrorist cell known as the Red Brigades. After nearly two months in captivity, he was found dead in the trunk of a car parked between the HQs of the two parties he hoped to reconcile. Il Divo implied that Andreotti may have somehow been complicit in his rival’s death—although this was never proven.

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Trailerama: Vincere

October 2, 2009

Mussolini, as seen by his wife. Mussolini’s wife, as seen by Marco Bellocchio. Few directors use women as a prism through which to observe history better than Bellocchio. Don’t be surprised if the Maestro manages to indict contemporary Italia in the process. Screened at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.