Marco Bellocchio's trenchant VICTORY MARCH is about the madness of military life and its children's power games. It deals with the psychological ravishing of a sensitive and literate young man during the first year in his service in the Italian army. He is abused and shoved about by officers and non-commissioned personnel, and when he has the audacity to become a good soldier, he is shunned by the other trainees. The soldier, Passeri, is played by the talented Michele Placido, who was the youngest brother in THREE BROTHERS and the teacher in FOREVER MARY, both made after this film. Much of the movie treats Passeri's relationship with a strict and possibly psychotic young officer (Franco Nero) and his sluttish young wife, played by French actress Miou-Miou. The movie delves into the relationship between power and sexuality, has some scenes that are rather graphic. But it is another example of Bellocchio's exhilarating talent which can be both savage and humane, satiric and dramatic, and most certainly always fascinating.
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