Monday, April 19, 2010


Marco Bellocchio's "Vincere" reminds me a lot of Lars von Trier's "Europa," as it has much more of an impact (as said before) "visually than narratively" (and the two are similar in their style). What I think may be a flaw is that the images are much more affecting than the characters. The film, however, may need them to be what it is (a paradox). The cinematography, as my friend said, is very good. It's a color film, yes, but the colors that cinematographer Daniele Cipri favors are black and white (it's a "dark" film, my friend et al. say), with some bits of color in there to contrast preciously. There is also a heavy use of archival footage, with heavy music and titles being played many times for you (which Nick Davis says is "self-monumentalizing"; perhaps, but it's still a great flourish). This makes the film "operatic" (as the critics have been saying) and very powerful. I mean, how could the characters live up to this? They're intense, but not this memorable.

The story is of how Ida Dalser and Benito Mussolini had a relationship where Mussolini seemed always very passionate, and where Dalser gave away everything for the founding of Mussolini's newspaper, but then Mussolini brushed her away because he already had a wife. The problem? He and Dalser had a son, and this furthered Dalser to him. Or so she thought. This doesn't really matter to the man, as he forgets all about her and she is left to yell at him and be forced away by people into a mental institution.

Up until this point, Bellocchio had meticulously controlled everything so that it was very much like an opera. There were very few sets and very few actors, as well as, as my friend said, "not much light." But, as the film follows Dalser into the institution, it gets less like this, more confusing, and more depressing, much like Clint Eastwood's much worse "Changeling" did two years ago. I don't like this genre of films very much.

This really made me down, but the film feels "classic" (as my friend said) enough to give you a reason to see this film. The film does get worse, but is very good at times. In other places it was a little flawed, too; for example, the sex scene at the beginning is a little long and the film is at places a little too "fly-on-the-wall" topical. The characters aren't the most memorable, as well, but, to use a common phrase, "they don't lack in intensity." I mean Giovanna Mezzogiorno in particular as Dalser. As others did, I thought Fillipo Timi was good in his double role (which got a little confusing) as (as said before) "father and son Benito." Overall, this is a piece that shows more work in terms of style than character, both a benefit and downsizer. B-

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