1 item from 2003
Toronto International Film Festival
TORONTO -- In "Good Morning, Night" (Buongiorno, Notte), Marco Bellocchio dramatizes one of the most traumatic events in recent Italian history -- the kidnapping and murder of its former prime minister, Aldo Moro, by a Red Brigade faction in 1978. The writer-director's inquiry into this tragedy makes for a moving and intelligent film, but the dark story never feels fully realized. Bellocchio experiments with a number of fictional methods to penetrate the minds of his characters, but not all work -- and some add confusion rather than clarity.
Nevertheless, this film will be a must-see in its native land, while festival exposure here and in Venice should lead to theatrical releases in many international territories. The film is certainly one of the better attempts by a European filmmaker to grapple with the terrorist activity that plagued Western Europe in the '70s.
The film's early moments depict two of the kidnappers, Ernesto Pier Giorgio Bellocchio, the director's son) and Chiara (Maya Sansa), posing as a married couple to rent a large Roman apartment with an underground garage. Here they plan to sequester their victim. Under the leadership of Mariano Luigi Lo Cascio), Primo (Giovanni Calcagno) and the other two design and construct a hiding place behind a bookshelf wall.
The bloody shootout and kidnapping in broad daylight occur off camera. Chiara learns about it from a TV news bulletin, which alerts her to her colleagues' success and to the imminent arrival of a houseguest.
Moro (Roberto Herlitzka) languishes in the flat for 55 days. During this time, his kidnappers conduct fruitless negotiations with authorities. Moro even writes to the pope to gain concessions that would win his release.
While all of this is happening, Bellocchio imagines conversations between Moro and his communist kidnappers, chiefly their ideologue leader Mariano, a dialogue in which the two parties talk past each other. The story is told from the point of view of Chiara, the cell's only woman. Her doubts about the group's action grow with each passing day. She experiences flashbacks (in black-and-white) to the struggle against fascism during World War II, which lead her to wonder whether her colleagues' radical ideology is uncomfortably akin to the fascists'.
At her job in a library, she develops a relationship with a young man (Paolo Briguglia) who just happens to have written a screenplay about a similar terrorist kidnapping. What Bellocchio wants to achieve here is never clear, nor is the police arrest of her colleague ever explained.
Having trouble sleeping at night, Chiara experiences dreams when she does fall asleep in which Moro roams freely about the apartment, checking out books in the bookshelf, and later, a fantasy in which she frees him before her pals can kill him.
As the film moves back and forth between these hallucinations and the tense boredom of the waiting period, during which the cell's members start to suspect one another, the movie loses some of its grip on the audience. Bellocchio's impressionistic approach never quite jells with the more realistic account of the terrorists' methodology. One also wishes that at least one terrorist would offer a cogent rationale for their actions. Indeed, only Chiara seems able to question their motives and goals.
A movie about the Moro incident should be unsettling, and this one is. The failure of ideology to justify such a crime is clearly dramatized by Bellocchio. The actors convey the blindness of much of the European radical left of that era to the consequences of such acts. In the way Bellocchio lights and shoots the claustrophobic flat, he makes clear that everyone is a prisoner there, not just Moro.
GOOD MORNING, NIGHT
A Filmalbatos/RAI Cinema production in association with Sky
Screenwriter-director: Marco Bellocchio
Producer: Marco Bellochio, Sergio Pelone
Director of photography: Pasquale Mari
Production designer: Marco Dentici
Music: Riccardo Giagni
Costume designer: Sergio Ballo
Editor: Francesca Calvelli
Chiara: Maya Sansa
Mariano: Luigi Lo Cascio
Aldo Moro: Roberto Herlitzka
Enzo: Paolo Briguglia
Ernesto: Pier Giorgio Bellocchio
Primo: Giovanni Calcagno
Running time -- 108 minutes
No MPAA rating »
1 item from 2003
IMDb.com, Inc. takes no responsibility for the content or accuracy of the above news articles, Tweets, or blog posts. This content is published for the entertainment of our users only. The news articles, Tweets, and blog posts do not represent IMDb's opinions nor can we guarantee that the reporting therein is completely factual. Please visit the source responsible for the item in question to report any concerns you may have regarding content or accuracy.See our NewsDesk partners