"I cento passi" (one hundred steps) was the distance between the Impastatos' house and the house of Tano Badalamenti, an important Mafia boss, in the small Sicilian town of Cinisi. The ... See full summary »
Marco Tullio Giordana
Luigi Lo Cascio,
Luigi Maria Burruano,
A mosaic of several intertwined stories questioning the meaning of life, love and hope, set during the last six days in the life of Eluana Englaro, a young woman who spent 17 years in a vegetative state.
A populist right-wing tabloid newspaper tries to derail the official police investigation of a brutal murder of a young girl in order to help the fascist and right-wing candidates it supports in the upcoming elections.
Gian Maria Volontè,
Massimo's idyllic childhood is shattered by the death of his mother. Years later, he is forced to relive his traumatic past and compassionate doctor Elisa could help him open up and confront his childhood wounds.
The film, a nostalgic fantasy documentary, depicts in six episodes a family story in Bobbio between 1999 and 2008. We discover the 5 years-old Elena being brought up by her aunts (Marco ... See full summary »
Pier Giorgio Bellocchio,
Rome, early 20th century: a wealthy psychiatrist, who runs an asylum for women and lacks imagination in his practice, must find a wet nurse for his infant when his wife panics after ... See full summary »
The movie is based on a true story. On 16 March 1978 Aldo Moro, the former Italian Prime Minister was kidnapped in Via Fani by the Brigate Rosse (Red Brigades), a militant Communist Italian group. He was the main supporter of the Compromesso Storico (Hystorical Compromise), which had to lead to the first Italian government supported by both the Christian Democrats and the Communists, in a period of social, economic and political crises. During the attack his five escort agents were all killed. Moro's corpse was found on 9 May 1978 in a car parked in a street between the headquarters of the Christian Democrat Party and the Communist Party. This movie is inspired by this tragic event which traumatize the whole nation. It focuses mainly on the relationship between the prisoner and his guards through the eyes of Chiara, the young woman whose role is to guard the prisoner. The movie portraits Chiara's life (her job as a librarian, the ordinary household) on one side and the political ...Written by
Near the end, when Aldo Moro walks away in the deserted street, you can see a multicolored Peace flag in the background. Those flags would decorate Italian streets only in 2003, to oppose the invasion of Iraq. See more »
The Political Context: a brief summary and clarification
I won't comment on the film's artistic merits, which I regard as noteworthy, nor on the psychological portrait given of the brigatisti, which I thought interesting but flawed. I will only say that the film was deeply moving for me and had me crying uncontrollably at times. I wish to give, instead, a sketch of the film's political context for the benefit of those whose familiarity with that period in Italian politics may be limited.
By 1978 Italy had been ruled uninterruptedly for more than 30 years by coalition governments, all of which were dominated by the Christian-Democratic party (DC). The Italian Communist Party (PCI) had been thrown out of the government in 1947 (in part, on the insistence of Washington as a condition for Italy's receiving Marshall aid monies), and it was excluded from all governments even though its share of the popular vote rose with every post-war election, making it the second largest party in Italy (it peaked at more than a third of the vote in the late 1970s). The PCI was not your average Communist party. It espoused a route to the transformation of capitalism that emphasized gradualism, social mobilization, and electoral politics--and by the early '60s its commitment to the acceptance of the principles of democratic pluralism was public and pronounced. By the end of the '70s, Italy was sorely in need of reform--the kind of reform in institutional arrangements and socio-economic policies that could only come through a change in government.
The 30 years of DC rule had created a regime rent through and through with corruption and unresponsive government (by contrast with the regional governments run by the PCI, which were models of efficiency and responsive government). But the US and most of the DC continued to argue that the opposition should not be allowed to come to power under any circumstances because of the "Communist menace."
Aldo Moro, president of the DC at the time, was one of a few DC leaders receptive to the idea of bringing the PCI into the government to effect reforms and make the country more governable--responding, as he was, to the initiative of Enrico Berlinguer, leader of the PCI, who called for an "historic compromise" with the Catholic masses and their party. But at the same time that the PCI was inching towards the government, there were fractions of the left in Italy that felt that the PCI was selling out the dream of making "The Revolution". Certainly it was true that the PCI had long abandoned the notion of "Revolution in the West" as resembling anything like the storming of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg in 1917 (note the imagery of revolutionary Russia thrown into the film by Bellocchio as representative of the consciousness of the brigatisti). But the PCI continued to be nominally wedded to the idea that capitalism was not the final resting place in the evolution of human social-economic systems, and that it could and should be replaced by a system of production based on production to satisfy human needs rather than private profit.
The closer the PCI moved towards government and compromise with the DC, the more this commitment to a socio-economic order alternative to capitalism was put into question in the eyes of Italy's "revolutionary" left (all of which, by the way,existed outside of the PCI in other social and political organizations).
Enter the Red Brigades (BR). Most of the their ranks were filled with leftists who came to "revolutionary" politics via Catholicism and the social gospel. They believed themselves to be heirs to the tradition of revolutionary militancy (and armed struggle)embodied in the Resistenza, the struggle against the German occupation of Italy,1943-45--a struggle which, in the minds of many of the combatants, was waged for the sake of a socio-economic order alternative to the inequalities and irrationalities of capitalism (it was mainly Bellocchio's use of clips showing the execution of "partigiani" (resistance fighters) and the reading of the letters they had written just prior to their execution which brought me to tears).
The BR believed that through "exemplary" actions (the knee-capping or killing of politicians, journalists, and trade-unionists seen by them as enemies of the working class) they might be able to galvanize the masses of the working class, whose revolutionary militancy had, presumably, had been lulled into a quiescent state by the "sell-out" leadership of the PCI.
The kidnapping of Moro was designed to put a stop to that process, and indeed it succeeded well. To the delight both of the "revolutionary" left and Washington the PCI was kept out of the government for almost another 20 years, until after the fall of the USSR and the complete dissolution of the DC under the weight of a gigantic scandal. One side note: Bellocchio is certainly in error in suggesting that Stalin would have been part of the fantasies of the BR--while they greatly admired Lenin for having pulled off the Bolshevik Revolution, they detested Stalin and the bureaucratized party rule that came in his wake.
One final note: I'm not sure I understand why Bellocchio has chosen as his counter-hero a figure who suggests the use of "fantasia" as an alternative to violence. It was precisely the BR's "flight of imagination" that got them into trouble, imagining a world that didn't exist in Italy--a world of revolutionary seething masses just waiting for a spark to ignite them. In politics there's no substitute for Machiavelli's "chiaroveggenza" (the capacity to see things clearly).
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