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|Index||87 reviews in total|
135 out of 151 people found the following review useful:
A masterpiece of cinema art!, 24 March 2005
Author: Peegee-3 (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Santa Monica, CA
Can art transform life? If so, I would elect "The Best of Youth" as a
primary candidate for that possibility.
Almost never in my over 60 years of film viewing have I been as deeply affected, haunted by characterizations, poetic dialog and brilliantly unexpected turns...and breadth of scope. The nuances of relationship between people...in this case the Italian family Carati, their lovers, friends, wards...are so moving, so deeply portrayed and inhabited by the actors that I was not only moved to tears, but inspired. Here is a view of how human beings can live the humanity so desperately needed in this crazed and warring world...also presented as an integral part of plot and interaction...and this done without any sort of didactic or polemic foisting...All achieved through the intimate and profound struggles of the film's characters.
Imagination and the incredible sensibility of director (Marco Tullio Giordana),writers (Petraglia and Rulli) and actors (most outstanding: Luigi LoCacio, Alessio Boni, Adriana Asti and Jasmine Trinca) combine to offer a film that carried this participant (for that's what I felt) into a realm only experienced by exceptional literature.
As is obvious...I highly recommend seeing this movie.
143 out of 168 people found the following review useful:
It does Italian cinema proud, 3 July 2003
Author: Gabriella from Rome, Italy
At last: an achievement contemporary Italian cinema can be proud of! Not that the odd decent flick doesn't grace our screens these days; however, when compared to Cinecitta's hey-day between the late 40s and 70s, today's production is scant. The problem essentially is the dire lack of funding and scarce distribution. Most Italian films are either shown in hardly any movie theatres - if any at all - while American blockbusters clog the screens of Italian cinemas up and down the peninsula for months (cliched 1960s terminology such as "cultural imperialism" springs to mind!). It's a familiar story... Then a couple of years ago, Gabriele Muccino's meaningless movies started being hailed as the harbingers of a renaissance. That's when I started to despair for this country's ailing contemporary cultural heritage! Muccino's "L'ultimo bacio" (to be avoided like the plague!) and his latest, "Ricordati di me", are prime examples of Berlusconi-era cinema: pretty-to-look-at but pointless, riddled with stoopid cliches, pre-packed, pre-digested conclusions, conservative, moralistic and misogynistic undertones that pass for brave portrayals of modern Italy (yeah right), hollow cynicism and shallow "portraits" of middle-class malaise that are merely a smug, self-referential celebration of this milieu (Muccino's own). Fortunately, despite his popularity in recent years, an increasing number of intelligent Italians share my views. And by the look of the Roman movie theatres heaving with people when I went to see La meglio gioventu' last week, they also agree that Marco Tullio Giordana's last effort is worth the effort of sitting in a cinema for almost 6 hours! The movie is a mini-series (it will be shown by RAI television in autumn 2003). It was shown at this year's Cannes in the Un Certain Regard section. Now it's shown in two separate, 3-hour screenings in selected movie-theatres around Italy. This may sound like too much to bear even for the most passionate of cinema-goers. But I cannot stress enough how successful the experiment is and how effortless (and pleasant!) the experience. There are almost as many opportunites to develop plot and characters as in a novel, and one leaves the cinema with a feeling of having gotten to know and grown to love the characters over a period of time. The story begins in Rome in 1966 and ends in the present day. Watching it is a wonderful way of getting a feel for Italian history in the last 40 years, though without ever feeling like you're watching a dense, academic "historic" film. Though it encompasses many historic events and nods towards innumerable themes, it is first and foremost about people. An Italian family in Rome - the Carati family - a Roman father, Milanese mother, two brothers and two sisters - are the hub around which other characters rotate. The two Carati brothers, Nicola (played sympathetically by Luigi Lo Cascio, also seen in Giordana's previous film, "I cento passi") and Matteo (the dishy Alessio Boni), are in some ways the main characters. But the spotlight often shines for long spells onto other characters - namely the lovely "psychopath" Giorgia, Red Brigade terrorist Giulia, as well as Mirella, the feisty and beautiful Sicilian photographer (Matteo's almost-love interest!). Then there are innumerable other memorable portraits, all introducing a social theme (such as Nicola's factory-worker friend, made redundant during Fiat's crisis at the start of the 80s, or Matteo's colleague, the working-class policeman, who ends up on a wheelchair after a beating at a political demonstration in the 70s). However, this is never done heavy-handedly and all characters are first and foremost human beings who can be appreciated as individuals transcending their backgrounds or political leanings. What I appreciated most in this movie was the lack of stereotyping. In heavily-politicised Italy, this comes as a breath of fresh air. Thus before being a policeman, Matteo is convincingly portrayed as a cultured and fiercely intelligent man whose emotional repression and desperate need for rules are a tragic consequence of an ancient wound. And the Teutonic-looking Giulia, the terrorist, is multi-faceted and has a believable psychological background which explains (but neither justifies or condemns) her choices. This woman, who abandons her young daughter and loving partner to embrace a life of political extremism, is never portrayed as a villain (this is innovative, considering how harshly "bad" mothers and wives are normally represented in movies!). All actors, with the exception of the wooden and heavy-featured Valentina Carnelutti (she plays the Carati's youngest daughter, Francesca), are excellent. Humorous and deeply touching moments perfectly counterbalance one another in a setting that flits from Rome to Norway to Florence (during the 1966 flood) to Turin (during the student demonstrations of the late 60s and 70s), then to Milan, Sicily and the Tuscan countryside in the present day. Then Norway again, in a beautiful and poetic closing of the circle. Early on in the film, young mental patient Giorgia, whom Matteo is charged with taking for walks while he's still a student, introduces the theme of psychiatry and its evolution from the 60s to the present day. Franco Basaglia, the revolutionary psychiatrist whose humane and futuristic ideas ultimately shut down Italian asylums in 1979, is mentioned later on as Nicola's role-model but the movie is never preachy or self-righteous about this. Again, this complex theme is not imposed upon the viewer in a dry and academic manner, but is interwoven into a compelling and moving subplot which involves both brothers and brings about decisive changes in both their lives. Similarly, the traumatic Mafia killing of the Sicilian judge Giovanni Falcone (early 90s) is evoked as it deserves, but again, never crowds the plot. There is far more that could be said about La meglio gioventu'! But I will give no more away, just a warm recommendation to go and see this accomplished piece of movie-making. The fact it won a Cannes prize makes me more hopeful of its release abroad, especially in the UK, where Italian cinema is direly underrepresented (with the exception of movies that show Italy in a quaint or picturesque light).
81 out of 87 people found the following review useful:
A treasure - 6 moving hours of forgetting yourself, 9 November 2003
Author: Oleg Sidorenko (email@example.com) from Moscow, Russia
Having just returned at 2 am from a festival showing of the movie that started at 5:30, I still can think of nothing but looking for anything and everything about this exceptional film that I came across more or less by accident. I can only sum up two points: it is an excellent yet easy-going overview of recent Italian history, and a truly moving, in an unbanal and unstereotypical, unpopcorny way, movie about the value of friendship, closeness, family. This film makes you want to live, to cherish the people you love and to be aware of the consequences of your acts. City living makes sour cynics out of teenage optimists (I'd count myself in until now), and this one is a lesson of keeping the best of yourself throughout life. A true inspiration! Bravo.
87 out of 102 people found the following review useful:
The span of a lifetime in mere 360 minutes. Nice., 14 November 2004
Author: Sinnerman from Singapore
Man, this 6 hour Italian drama gives soap opera a very good name. Saw
the film at this year's Singapore International Film Festival, whose
organisers were thankfully intuitive enough to endeavour such
Best of youth's sprawling, epic scale depiction of love, familial ties and the strength which friendship binds, were assuredly interspersed into those 6 hours. The sweeping grandeur of its scope never overshadows the intimacy of its finely detailed characterisation. The subtle shifting of focus between characters (before unveiling the true lead character in the end) also proved to be intriguingly fruitful for the attentive audience.
The screening time hence becomes a non-issue, for it genuinely felt like a sumptuous breeze. In fact, I'm pretty sure the captivated audience on that fateful night of screening could go on for another 3 hours. Such is the allure of good story telling.
In summation, Best of youth boasts of good story, excellent performances, well placed "Godfather" references and beautiful people for the restless(if any) to ogle at. What more can a film geek (erm, me) ask for?
Fantastic movie. Go hunt for it.
55 out of 67 people found the following review useful:
Beautiful Film, 27 March 2005
Author: delphine090 from United States
It's hard not to feel like an "easy" grader to give this film a 10,
given that it is the very simple story of a family over 4 decades, no
quirky writing or the eccentricities of "indie" films - just beautiful
scenery, characters that move us and that we care about, and a sweet
and believable story. The acting is excellent.
To say this is a miniseries is misleading and adds the impression of a "cheese" factor that is not present. There is a reason that this film has been taken from the small screen and released in theaters - I didn't even know it had been a miniseries until I read some of the comments here.
The story is simple but it is not trite; we may not have a huge number of surprises and no amazing plot twists and contortions but it is an emotional, moving, satisfying story.
The most moving part of the story is the love and connectedness between the characters, and how this is expressed - here in the U.S. physical display of platonic affection is virtually non-existent, unless you count athletes hitting each other on the rear. You can tell these characters really care for each other.
I sat for the second three hours today with people who sat through the first three hours with me yesterday. Some yesterday just got back in line for part 2. There was a line waiting to get in today - all people who had seen part 1 already.
Saying this movie is like Zelig as someone here did is false and insulting. We couldn't tell a story about a U.S. family that spans the 60's to the present without mentioning Viet Nam or Watergate or 9/11, so this story of course mentions events internal to Italy during that time. The historical events are a backdrop to the story, not the story itself.
The story is about this family, and we care about what happens to them. We become engaged, we sit and watch and laugh and cry with them. That's what movies are supposed to do.
43 out of 53 people found the following review useful:
Beautiful and touching family story, 29 March 2005
I saw this movie a couple of weeks ago. Actually, you can't call it a
movie because it's much more than that, it is a kind of mini-series.
"La Meglio Gioventu" tells the story of two brothers: Matteo and
Niccola. It starts when they are both about 18 years old; two young
idealist who want to discover and change the world. What follows is
partly Italian history, but mainly the personal history of the two
brothers, growing up and finding their way through life.
This is one of the most beautiful, touching and human stories of the latest years. I enjoyed seeing this very much. Six hours may seem a long time but it isn't to tell a story of 50 years. It is wonderful to see both brothers growing up and changing.
The acting is excellent and the story is touching; the director has eye for detail and he manages the capture life in a very unique way. I can only advise everyone to see this. Outstanding! 9/10
49 out of 68 people found the following review useful:
A joy to watch, 31 December 2004
Author: Patrik Enander from Sweden
I've just finished watching this gripping film. I was on the Gothenbeug Film festival, but I did not see it. The 6,5 hours were a daunting prospect. On Swedish telly the divided in into 4 parts which were shown 4 days in a row. It is one of those series where one is longing for the next episode, I found myself pondering about the film, the characters all day. So many things has been said already in other reviews which I don't have to repeat I just say watch this lowly very slowly unfolding slice of life and Italian history. If it doesn't move you you will have to have a heart of stone. Excellent acting, wonderful photos, lots of atmosphere.....
35 out of 42 people found the following review useful:
Emotionally Gripping Mini-Series Of Italians Within Recent History, 19 March 2005
Author: noralee from Queens, NY
"Best of Youth (La Meglio gioventù)" proves that Italians have learned
the art of the long-form television mini-series that the British have
Covering a somewhat same period of the baby boom generation as "In A Land of Plenty," it has more of the generational feel of individuals caught up in history as we have usually seen in British mini-series about end-of-the-eras or World War I, such as "Brideshead Revisited" and "Jewel in the Crown." U.S. mini-series were more successful as sweeping historical epics, even when they were also family sagas like "Roots" and "Centennial;" when the networks tried to interpret more recent history, as in "The Sixties," the set characters sped through "Zelig" and "Forest Gump"-like in happening to be at the right place at the right time; perhaps the several seasons combined of the NBC series "American Dreams" could be considered comparable in showing how the times that are a-changing affect a family.
"Best of Youth" is being released in the U.S. in movie theaters, though I'm not sure even shown in two parts of three hours each how edited it is from the original format, as other grand European mini-series like "Berlin Alexanderplatz," "Das Boot" and "Fanny and Alexander" were originally only shown in the U.S. in truncated theatrical versions as even PBS seems averse to television with subtitles so we rarely get to see the best of world television. Comparison to the Italian film "The Leopard" is unfair as that was not created in the same format and covers a shorter period of historical time.
"Best of Youth" combines charismatic acting, leisurely directing amidst beautiful scenery in several parts of Italy with writing that takes the trajectories of complex yet consistent characters' lives believably and searingly affected by uniquely Italian experiences of the baby boomers' young adult years through middle age, without the American tendency to reject or regret youthful ambitions, through the lens of local natural disasters, violent political activities, judicial battles against the Cosa Nostra, European economic changes, with regional variations, that Americans rarely see in movies.
The focus is primarily on two brothers from the 1960's almost to the present, played by two actors who must be the equivalent of George Clooney and Richard Chamberlain in Italian television. Alessio Boni in particular as Matteo captures the screen with such tortured macho dynamism that it's no wonder he's gone on to play Heathcliff and Dracula in other mini-series. His Paul Newman-like startling blue eyes become a talking point of the series and a continuing visual leitmotif. Similarly, the physical differences between the two actors help to point up the different paths the brothers take through life, even as the casting of other family members to look like them is eerily effective.
The series is particularly good at capturing the camaraderie amongst old male friends over the years and the intimate interactions of members of a family, particularly with children, with a strong theme of the importance of both as an anchor.
Unlike in American TV where women are adjuncts as the girlfriend/wife/mother, the key women here are crucial fulcrums in the brothers' lives and have separate intellectual, psychological and emotional demands.
The emotions are important here -- grief is shown very movingly, with more pain and tears than American culture usually allows. In one extended scene, we see a grieving mother walk slowly up a long flight of stairs in numbed silence and gradually see her revive as she learns of surprise news about her son.
There are of course some coincidences of family members' and friends' paths crossing at key junctures, but the story overall grips us.
The pop music selections,American, European and Italian, are wonderfully evocative.
30 out of 47 people found the following review useful:
It is a miracle: perfect screenplay, excellent actors!, 2 September 2004
Author: gfinocchiaro (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Cologne (Germany)
"La Meglio Gioventù" is an hymn to Italy and the Italian people! It is
our history and belongs to our culture. The story takes place on a
period of 37 years, from 1966 to 2003, highlighting some momentous
events of our country, which moulded in a way our spirit: the flooding
in Florence in 1966, the terrorist fight in the '70s, the World
Championship of 1982 (which led to the victory of the Italian team),
the killing of Judge Falcone in 1992, and so on.
The mixture of intelligent screenplay, wise direction and supreme performance of the whole cast of actors makes this work an authentic miracle of our cinema. Thanks to this masterpiece, Marco Tullio Giordana enters the Gotha of Masters of the "Made in Italy" production.
I greatly enjoyed each moment of the film, from the very beginning. It is such a pleasure to our spirit and heart: I am pleased to compare it to a chalice of ambrosia offered to the lips of gods! I think this metaphor can easily convey the effect the vision of the motion picture produced to me. But I do not want to mislead the other readers by giving the idea it is a comedy: the film is quite dramatic and sometimes you can perceive it as a documentary.
The combined effect of intelligence and sensitiveness to the story makes you feel good and proud to belong to the country able to offer such a pearl!
27 out of 43 people found the following review useful:
The history is within, 31 January 2004
Author: Paolo A. Gardinali from United States
In "La miglior Gioventu'" Marco Tullio Giordana attempts something quite
ambitious: a "Novecento part 3" covering nearly 40 years of Italian
from 1966 to the present day. And that's the controversial, current
that will never make the books, the 40 years that dramatically changed
from the rural, ravaged, divided post war country through the illusory
economic boom, the equally delusional insurgent years 1968 to 1977, and
more recent events.
Summarizing so much in raises more than one structural problem even for such a long movie: how to confine the action in some post-Aristotelian unit of extended family and friends? Giordana chooses an "intimate" perspective, starting the story from quite an unexpected angle of ordinary bourgeoisie and mental illness, and using it later as the key to his whole work.
Like in the "Hundred Steps" the first shots are of hope, with a great imitation of the Technicolor years and the skies of Rome with the "House of the Rising Sun" in the background. The unique events of one summer, 1966, bring two brothers and their friends inevitably and forever apart, each one of them stealing away a piece of the collective soul of that Italy that is about to change.
But in the Hundred Steps, Luigi Lo Cascio dies as Peppino Impastato, a martyr of the open rebellion to the "muro di gomma" of the invisible mafia control outside of Palermo. How vain is that sacrifice appears clearer in the first part of the Best of Youth, where Nicola gradually diverges from her partner Giulia, soon to disappear in the clandestine world of terrorist subversions of the "lead years." About that he writes of the idea of transforming the institutions from within. A necessary, painful transformation that often sees the brothers on the opposite ends of the spectrum, and the law.
LoCascio is excellent, as usual, a young De Niro with extra depth. Less effective is Alessio Boni, a TV actor in the admittedly difficult role of the brother Matteo, while Jasmine Trinca (Irene in The Son's Room) is unbelievably good as Giorgia, the mentally disturbed young woman whose sudden appearance in the life of Nicola and Matteo rolls the dice of history and guides each one of them on a different and possibly irreconcilable path. Trinca as Giorgia plays with silences and the averted gaze, a mute witness to the interior tragedy of Matteo: in an unforgettable scene matteo talks by himself about Giorgia's absence and inability to communicate, and we all realize he is really talking about himself, "matto" Matteo as she reveals with her first words after the long silence of forced confinement.
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