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The story of Ida Dalser, who fell in love with the future Italian Fascist leader, Benito Mussolini, supported him while he was unemployed in the early 1910s, and married him, presumably around 1914. She bore Mussolini a son, Benito Albino, before the outbreak of World War I. The two lost touch during the war years and, upon discovering him again in a hospital during the war, she also discovered Rachele Guidi, who had married Mussolini in 1915, and a daughter born in 1910 when Guidi and Mussolini were living together. Historically, following his political ascendancy, Mussolini suppressed the information about his first marriage and he (through the Fascist party) persecuted both his first wife and oldest son and committed them forcibly to asylums.
I found this movie extremely absorbing, from beginning to end. It's true what other critics have observed that the real Mussolini in the old newsreels looks quite different from the actor personifying him, and the sudden confrontations between one and the other are quite unsettling.
Could it be that recreating this historical newsreels with this actor as Mussolini was not possible due to the insufficient budget? Or maybe the director wanted to show us the real Mussolini to give us a good idea about the individual? Another confusing issue: The actor playing Mussolini also plays his adult son.
And we don't get to see the final days of this dictator, when he was involved with Clara (Claretta) Petacci, his last lover, twenty eight years younger and executed with him (and both corpses hanged upside down in the public square).
The photography and the camera work are exquisite, as are the lighting --absolute perfection-- the acting --masterful-- and the music --excellent.
Very somber movie, shot most of the time in heavy darkness; there is no comic relief whatsoever, not even light humor, but then, the story is extremely dark and tragic, something that could have come out from a Dorothy Parker story.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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